Farmer groups have warned that a proposed free trade deal with Australia could put livelihoods at risk.
The concerns come as the Prime Minister chaired a meeting of senior ministers to discuss the impact of tariff removal on imported Australian products, including beef and lamb.
The meeting follows tensions within Cabinet, including between Commerce Secretary Liz Truss and Agriculture Secretary George Eustice over whether to grant Australia duty free access to UK consumers.
The UK is eager to conclude a free trade agreement with Australia by next month to demonstrate that it is capable of forging new economic opportunities after leaving the European Union.
The deal aims to increase the volume of trade between the two countries above the current £ 20 billion, but it is also important as it will set the terms for future negotiations with other countries, including the United States. .
Agriculture is likely to be at the heart of all these transactions as the large UK market is very attractive, while domestic producers are always adjusting toBrexit trade regulations and how EU subsidies will be replaced.
Farmers fear that they will not be able to compete with imports from Australia, where much larger farms, and what some claim are lower welfare standards, allow cheaper production.
Particularly concerned are farmers and decentralized governments in Scotland and Wales, where cattle and sheep farming is crucial to local economies.
Martin Kennedy, chairman of National Farmers Union Scotland, told Sky News: “We are extremely concerned about this deal as it is the first deal the UK is in the process of autonomously concluding and we are concerned by the possibility of undermining our markets.
“For obvious reasons, they [the government] want to be able to see the UK ‘take back control’ and do their own business …
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This notice was published: 2021-05-20 19:56:00