A tariff-cutting UK-Australia trade deal is due to be signed later this year, following an announcement by the UK Government.
The five per cent export tariff which is currently in place will be removed as part of the free trade agreement (FTA). Ministers hope the resulting deal will allow the UK to be more competitive in the Australian market. The tariff will be removed from exported UK goods that include railway stock, track fixtures and fittings, and traffic signalling equipment.
British rail businesses will also have legally guaranteed access to bid for Australian government contracts, designed to put them on an even footing with their Australian competitors.
Also, as part of the agreement, British citizens under the age of 35 will be able to work in Australia for three years.
Australia is thought to be investing more than £82 billion into its network over the next decade.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said: “Our rail exports industry is a Global Britain success story. Australia is undergoing a huge reconstruction of its train networks and this trade deal will allow British companies to be even more competitive when bidding for these massive, multi-billion-pound infrastructure projects.
“These major contracts will support high value jobs up and down the UK, and allow more of our professionals to live, work and enjoy life on the other side of the world.”
Chairman of the Railway Industry Association, David Tonkin, added: “Many UK rail suppliers already trade with Australia – from manufacturing firms in Doncaster to design companies in London – and with a Free Trade Agreement they can deliver even more.
“With Australia voted as the number one priority market for rail businesses in the UK, a trade deal will be welcome news to many, allowing them to more easily sell our world-leading products and services into the market.
The announcement comes as the Department for International Trade and Innovate UK launch a competition that will support UK companies in the rail sector to innovate globally. The competition will award small businesses grants of up to £50,000 to help them access growing markets such in Australia, India, and Canada.