Farmers’ warning over trade deal

Department of International Trade figures showing that the Australian trade agreement will spell a ‘reallocation of resources away from UK agriculture, forestry, and fishing’ of around £94 million, has prompted farming groups to hit out at Westminster’s insistence that there will be no detrimental impact on home food production.

And organisations, including the National Sheep Association (NSA) have called for an immediate and full scrutiny of the details of the deal.NSA chief executive Phil Stocker struck out at claims made by Boris Johnson and other senior UK government ministers that British farming would not suffer – claiming that the industry was being made the ‘sacrificial lamb’ in a deal to to allow cheaper Australian wine onto supermarket shelves.

He said that Parliament and the Trade and Agriculture Commission should sift the consequences of the deal and make sure the public were aware that it would allow imports of lamb produced to lower standards than those adopted in the UK.Following warnings by the Association that the Australia and New Zealand trade deal negotiations would set the standard for future deals Stocker said: “NSA insists that it is essential MPs get a meaningful vote on this deal and that the views of the TAC are properly recognised. This will be a test case for democracy in relation to trade deals - crucial because they will be for the long term.

“The next stage of this process cannot be a rubber-stamping exercise otherwise the government’s support from rural constituencies will fall further.”

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