Victorian businesses already engage in significant trade with the United Kingdom (UK) and European markets.
The region is in the midst of enormous change, and exciting new investment, trade and partnering opportunities are emerging across a range of sectors for Victorian goods and services. The UK is closer than ever to leaving the European Union (EU), and is looking to strengthen its trade and investment relationship with Australia. This provides Victorian businesses with vast new business opportunities in a post-Brexit landscape.
Likewise, negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and Australia were launched in June 2018. This FTA has the potential to exponentially grow Victoria’s economic relationship with the EU.
Opportunities for Victorians looking to do business with the United Kingdom and Europe
Defence & advanced technology
The Australian Government's selection of UK, French and German companies to design and build frigates, submarines and armoured vehicles respectively has provided key opportunities for Victorian organisations to offer technology, expertise, products and services and participate into the broader supply chain of these multinational companies. These opportunities have the potential to enable further business development in the UK and Europe.
Defence partnerships between Victoria and Europe have deepened in recent years, illustrated by the signing of Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) between Australian Defence Alliance-Victoria (ADA-Vic) with Poland’s Aviation Valley in 2019, and with France’s Region-Centre Val de Loire in 2018. The Victorian Government has also recently supported companies on defence trade missions to France, the UK, Germany, Sweden and Poland.
With improved market access and extensive networks established across the region by our Defence Specialist in the Victorian Government Trade and Investment (VGTI) Office in London, Victorian defence companies have never been better placed and supported to enter the UK and European markets.
Opportunities for Victorian tech companies in the UK and Europe have never been more abundant. Businesses in fintech, edtech, regtech and smart cities are just a few examples that have seen interest in their product or service soar particularly in the UK, as Victorian businesses benefit from easier access and cultural understanding between Australia and the UK.
Victoria’s growing strengths in fintech can be leveraged in the UK by the UK-Australia FinTech Bridge which offers Australian and UK fintech startups entry into each country’s respective regulatory sandboxes and potential quicker licence processing for companies already holding a licence in the opposing country.
Oxford University’s world leading Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre (GCSCC) entered into a landmark agreement with the Victorian Government to collaborate with the Oceania Cyber Security Centre (OCSC) in Melbourne. This agreement is just one aspect of the growing cyber security engagement between the UK and Victoria.
Austrade's Berlin Landing Pad provides a collaborative global workspace for Victorian start-ups to break into the European market.
The Victorian Government has led multiple trade missions to London Tech Week and the Paris Fintech Forum.
Medtech & pharmaceutical products
Melbourne's biotech, medical technology and pharmaceutical businesses are globally competitive in research and development and are strongly positioned to collaborate with UK and European organisations for innovative products and services – particularly biotech, medicaments and medical devices.
Victorian exports to Europe in this sector have grown exponentially. In 2018-19, Victoria’s exports of pharmaceutical products to the EU amounted to $452 million, representing a 330 per cent increase compared with the previous financial year. Building on this momentum, the Victorian Government led a trade mission to BIO-Europe in Germany in 2019.
Food, fibre & retail
As producers and providers of some of the world's cleanest, healthiest and premium food products, Victoria's agribusiness is competitively placed to meet the UK and Europe's growing demand for quality foods, including fruit and nuts, wine and oils and fibre.
There is a specific appetite for specialised products such as organic, fair trade, vegan, gluten free and sustainably sourced foods and beverages.
Victoria also exports significant volumes of wool to European markets.
Victoria as a gateway to Asia
The Victorian Government encourages European businesses to base their Asia Pacific operations in Victoria and take advantage of Victoria’s Asia capability.
Melbourne is uniquely placed for UK and European companies seeking to service Asia Pacific. Sharing the same time zone as Asia, offering a curfew free airport, the largest container port in Australia, and a rich multicultural linguistically diverse population makes Melbourne a practical location for global organisations looking for success in Australia and Asia Pacific.
- The EU is Victoria's second largest two-way trading partner (behind China), and fifth most valuable export market.
- Victoria’s merchandise exports to the UK and Europe are dominated by pharmaceuticals, wool, medicaments and alcoholic beverages.
- The UK and Europe are also important export markets for services, including professional services and the visitor economy. In the year ending June 2019, an estimated 224,600 visitors from the UK visited Victoria making it the fourth largest international market overall. From Europe, Victoria welcomed 349,400 visitors over the same period, largely from Germany, France, Scandinavia and Italy.
- The UK is the second largest foreign investor in Victoria. The EU accounts for 38 per cent of foreign direct investment into Victoria, with Germany, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain the largest investors.
- The fifth round of negotiations for a joint Australian-European Union Free Trade Agreement took place in October 2019. The agreement aims to reduce non-tariff barriers and improve market access for services and agricultural products.
Discover how your business can export to the UK and Europe
- Our Go Global export-readinesss self-assessment tool will identify your business's gaps in capabilities and recommend next steps to bridge those gaps. Whether you're seeking to enter new markets, or expand into existing markets, Go Global will show you how to get there.
- Connect with our representatives at the Victorian Government Trade and Investment (VGTI) office in London. At no cost to you, they can provide tailored market intelligence, insights and guidance for your export business and connect you with overseas buyers and industry partners.
- Join us on a trade mission or attend one of our free seminars on opportunities in the UK and Europe across specific sectors.
- Explore Austrade's UK Market Profile which provides further detail and facts about the UK market and many other European markets.
- Apply for a range of Victorian Government grants, vouchers and assistance programs available to your business.
- Utilise International Chamber House (ICH) in Melbourne's city centre, a business networking hub for international bilateral chambers and business associations. It provides members with access to meeting rooms with video-conferencing, flexible workspaces and a function space for international business development events. The British, French and German Chambers are all housed at ICH.
- Visit our regional insights page to read current updates from our UK and Europe Regional Specialist.