Brexit trade deal: Britain must go into Australia agreement with ‘eyes wide open’ warns MP

Boris Johnson discusses new trade deal with Australia

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On Tuesday, the Prime Minister agreed “in broad terms” the first Brexit deal made from scratch since the UK left the EU. The historic trade agreement which would see tariffs eliminated on all UK goods has been hailed as a “new dawn” for the relationship between Britain and Australia.

However, British farmers have expressed fears jobs will be lost due to the deal as cheaper Australian meats will force out their British counterparts.

Speaking on BBC Newsnight, Neil Parish Tory MP and EFRA Committee chair warned that we need to enter the deal with our “eyes wide open”.

He said: “I think the deal is a mixed one. I think overall it’s great to have a trade deal with Australia, it’s good to build up our relationship across the world especially with China becoming more powerful.

“So I think that is good, but I think from a farming perspective we need to go into this with our eyes wide open.

“We’re being asked to go into a more environmental and animal welfare friendly situation and we’ve got to be careful that those imports meet those high standards.”

Both Mr Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, have reassured British farmers that jobs will be protected by “a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years, using tariff rate quotas and other safeguards.”

In addition, the Department for International Trade has assured Brits that any deal with Australia would “not “compromise our high standards”.

Mr Parish continued to say that he was a “little bit concerned” but was comforted by the addition of safeguards.

He added: “I would be happier if the trade and agriculture commission was set up again within the trade department so that it can guide the Secretary of State for trade as we move forward.

“We’ve had those assurances all along – that’s what the trade and agriculture commission is for.”

The Tory MP continued to state that we’ve “got to follow these things carefully.”

In the same programme, Conservative MP Mike Wood, expressed his confidence in British products and their ability to shine on the world stage.

He said: “I’ve got every confidence in British farmers to be producing some of the best products in the world and actually we should be looking at how we can be exporting those products.

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“Whilst they’re certainly not always the cheapest, we can compete on quality with any other country in the world.

“We’re seeing that in markets in the far east and I see no reason why British farmers shouldn’t be looking to export to Australia as part of this deal.”

Mr Parish reinforced that Britain “can take the competition”.

He said: “We’ve got to make sure we’re very aggressive in marketing and exporting our great British beef and lamb.

“We’ve got to really get on the front foot. We’ve got 10 years really to sort this out.

“Gradually more and more beef and lamb will come in from Australia and we have to make sure it meets those high standards that we’ve been promised the Government will make in the trade deal.”

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