Can 'reasonably priced' Tim Tams sweeten the Brexit deal?
Updated: Jul 9, 2020
The beginning of formal Brexit negotiations has already created polarised reactions amongst the British public.
Boris Johnson's new trade agreement talks with Australia comes with the UK's formal exit of the European Union on January 31. The UK will still trade with the bloc until the end of the year on existing terms.
Formal negotiations on free trade deals with Australia (as well as New Zealand, the US and Japan) have highlighted just how out of depth Britain is while exiting the EU.
The Tim Tam, a popular sweet treat amongst Australians, became this week's unlikely point of controversy in a never-ending struggle over the United Kingdom's future.
In his typical charismatic way, full of bravado, positivity and humour, Johnson this week stated: "I want a world in which we send you Marmite, you send us Vegemite. We send you Penguins and you send us, with reduced tariffs, these wonderful Arnott's Tim Tams".
Unfortunately for Johnson and his government, this lighthearted approach to dealing with Brexit doesn't quite resolve a deeply complex situation.
Also announced with the start of formal negotiations between Australia, Downing Street confirmed plans to repaint the grey prime ministerial RAF plane with a Union Jack themed design, adorning the aircraft in red, white and blue - all at a cost of £900,000 nonetheless.
I'm not sure we can really call this a priority in a nation recovering from a financial recession induced by the COVID-19 outbreak.
An unpopular opinion perhaps, but is all of this just another attempt to reboot the Empire after Brexit? Another classic post-colonial economic endeavour?
Whatever your stance, these new trade agreements aren't likely to mitigate the damage that has already been done following the Brexit vote.
The government's own modelling shows an agreement with the US could enhance the British economy by between 0.07 per cent and 0.16 per cent over the next 15 years, and up to 0.07 per cent under an agreement with Japan. Trading under free conditions with Australia could lift the UK GDP by 0.02 per cent in the long term (as for New Zeland, the financial impact could even be negative).
As it stands, free trade agreements that champion the Tim Tam might not be able to compensate the fallout from Brexit - not any time soon, anyway.