It appears that UK farmers are very concerned that animal welfare and environmental standards will be undermined in the UK's free trade deal with Australia, despite PM Johnson’s insistence that the deal will benefit British farmers. The PM said products including cars and Scotch whisky will be cheaper to sell to Australia because of the tariff-free agreement, while British farmers will be protected by a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years.
However, Labour politicians have claimed the government is “screwing over our farmers” after Australia’s trade ministry revealed that tariff-free protection periods would stop in five years for dairy products, and after 10 years for beef and lamb.
Southwestfarmer.co.uk quoted Luke Pollard MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, as saying: “The government are screwing over our farmers the same way they screwed over the British fishing industry. To do so with one sentence in a press release, and no answers to the crucial questions it raises, shows a staggering contempt for Britain’s farming communities.”
NFU president Minette Batters said: “We have been clear about our concerns over the potential impact of trade deals that completely eliminate all tariffs on imports from the biggest agricultural exporters in the world. I am concerned that today’s announcement appears to have made no mention of animal welfare and environmental standards.”
"We will need to know more about any provisions on animal welfare and the environment to ensure our high standards of production are not undermined by the terms of this deal."
Lack of detail is also of concern to RABDF chairman Peter Alvis, who said: “Despite repeated calls by the industry and collaboration of 18 industry bodies working together, we have yet to receive any detail on this agreement.”
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