Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Investing

UK farmers sound alarm over Australia trade talks as deal cause cause irreversible damage

farmers field

UK farmers have sounded the alarm over reports the government plans a trade deal with Australia that would make its food and farming imports cheaper.

The move is being considered as part of a free trade pact with Australia the UK government hopes will be a springboard for similar deals with other countries.

But UK farming unions have warned of “irreversible damage” from a bad deal.

There is speculation the Cabinet is split over the move, and Labour has accused the government of a “sell-out”.

As with many countries, farming imports from Australia face tariffs – or taxes – making lamb and beef, for example, more expensive.

But in a post-Brexit world, the UK government is keen to strike free trade deals and has now indicated that farmers may have to prepare for the lowering of tariffs on agricultural imports.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) would not be drawn directly on reports it is willing to concede to zero tariffs in return for an Australia deal.

Struggle to compete

However, it said a deal would be “an important stepping stone” to joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a sprawling trade group that includes New Zealand, China, Japan, Vietnam, as well as Australia.

A deal would “allow UK farmers even greater access to growing consumer markets in Asia”, the DIT said, adding that it would not allow importers to undercut the farming industry or food standards.

However, the National Farmers’ Union warned that its members will struggle to compete if zero-tariff trade on lamb and beef goes ahead.

NFU president Minette Batters said: “We know that if we’re to open up the opportunities of new markets overseas for UK farmers, we will have to offer greater access to our own markets in return.

“However, this trade-off needs to be balanced, and we need to make sure concessions to our hugely valuable home market are not given away lightly.

“There is a very real risk that, if we get it wrong, UK farming will suffer irreversible damage rather than flourish in the way we all desire, to the detriment of our environment, our food security and our rural communities.”

Rift?

Farmers’ concerns are reportedly shared by some members of the Cabinet.

The Financial Times reported that Environment Secretary George Eustice and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove are at loggerheads with International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Brexit minister Lord Frost over granting tariff-free access to Australian, and possibly New Zealand, farmers.

Asked about the rift by the Press Association, Mr Eustice said: “I’m not going to get into discussions that are going on in government about individual trade agreements.

“In any discussion on any part of government policy, and trade agreements are no exception, there’s a discussion and there’s a consensus.

“At the moment there’s a very clear consensus in government that we want to do a trade agreement with countries like Australia, but obviously on the right terms.”

However, sources did not deny that there were Cabinet divisions over the issue.

Emily Thornberry, Labour’s shadow international trade secretary, accused Ms Truss of selling out British farmers.

“It’s perfectly normal that the Australian government should try to get the best possible deal for its agricultural mega-corporations,” she said.

“But British family farmers have a right to expect that Liz Truss will do the same for them, not sell out their livelihoods for the price of a quick trade deal, and a cheap headline at the G7 summit.”

Ms Truss was hoping to secure an Australia deal ahead of the G7 summit in June. She is about to start official trade talks with Canada and Mexico, adding to those under way with India and New Zealand.

Read more:
UK farmers sound alarm over Australia trade talks as deal cause cause irreversible damage

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.
Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!

Latest

Economy

It brings you to nature’s embrace. This picturesque 100-hectare Swiss-inspired luxury community in Tagaytay City, after all, does not only regale you with breathtaking...

Investing

A rare Mercedes-Benz racing car known as the Mona Lisa of cars has been sold by the company for a record £115 million. The...

Investing

New research has revealed that only one in four civil servants believe their department is following the Government’s National Data Strategy, with skills and...

Economy

Australian mining and logistics firms are interested in doing business in the Philippines according to Australian ambassador Steven J. Robinson, who cited policy reforms...

Investing

As Sunday Times Rich List shows record number of UK billionaires, their gains should be taxed the same as income from work Huge increases...

Investing

A battle is shaping up between major retailers over whether the UK should introduce an online sales tax, with Sainsbury’s demanding it to help...

You May Also Like

Investing

Having a good Instagram marketing agency to back up your Instagram account is an absolute must going into the new year. With competition stronger...

Economy

Ivermectin, an existing drug against parasites including head lice, has had a checkered history when it comes to treating COVID-19. The bulk of studies...

Investing

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the global population. Therefore, it is a problem that many people suffer or have suffered throughout...

Investing

As a traditionally rigid insurance industry becomes bogged down by antiquated processes and operations, a handful of industry leaders are seeking to shake things...

Disclaimer: SmartRetirementReport.com, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2021 SmartRetirementReport. All Rights Reserved.