Concerns over Australia-UK trade deal are 'childish', says ex-commissioner

24 May 2021, 08:12

By Fiona Jones

Former Australian High Commissioner Alexander Downer told LBC that concerns over the post-Brexit trade deal are "childish", amid criticism it will "ruin" British farming.

It comes amid proposals from International Trade Secretary Liz Truss for a zero-tariff and zero-quota trade deal, which British farmers have said will drive farmers out of business.

Scottish National Party leader Ian Blackford has responded that this deal, which would lead to unfettered free trade over a 15 year transition period, "would represent a bitter betrayal of rural communities."

Environmentalist groups have added concern that allowing Australian hormone-treated beef would breach the Conservatives’ manifesto commitments.

The former commissioner Mr Downer responded: "To put it bluntly...it's just childish.

"First of all Australia has no intention of flooding the British market, we have substantial markets in Asia and that's where the focus will be. To send beef, particularly to send large quantities of beef and sheep meat, 10,000 miles across the world is very expensive.

"The only access to the market we would ever have in the UK is at the very high end. A high end which is substantially served by the EU."

He continued that Australia is saying "if you want access to the Australian free market and we're offering free access to all British exports to Australia...then obviously that's expected to be reciprocated."

Mr Downer dismissed the "scare campaign" about flooding the UK market with hormone-injected beef, saying that while it is legal to do this in Australia, exporters have no intention of exporting meat that the UK does not want.

"Obviously we expect the UK exports, including agricultural exports, to meet Australian standards, and the UK expect Australia to meet UK standards," he said, "why would we try to flood the British market with a lot of poisonous food? That is childish."

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss joins Nick Ferrari from 9am to discuss the proposed trade deal.

You can watch it here: Call the Cabinet with Liz Truss.

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

The Vaccines Minister was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Twenty-six million Brits to be jabbed with dual strain Covid booster which 'broadens immunity'

Brandon Lewis

Boris Johnson still working and takes ‘red boxes’ on holiday, says Brandon Lewis

'Where do they find the time?!': Nick Ferrari slates mob attacking 'sexist' paint ad

'Where do they find the time?!': Nick Ferrari slates mob attacking 'sexist' paint ad

Nick Ferrari sold on caller's 'three one-off taxes' plan to raise cost-of-living funds

Nick Ferrari sold on caller's 'three one-off taxes' plan to raise cost-of-living funds

Nick Ferrari mocks caller who blames Brexit for water crisis

Nick Ferrari mocks caller who blames Brexit for water crisis

Nick Ferrari gobsmacked after caller says he has had seven bikes stolen.

Nick Ferrari gobsmacked at how caller has had seven bikes stolen

LBC's Reporter Charlotte Lynch took a dip off the Cornish Coast

Nick Ferrari's 'swimming in shark infested waters' reporter challenge

Jacob Rees-Mogg said civil servants had been offered a course on witchcraft

Courses on Check Yo Privilege and witchcraft for civil servants are a waste of time, says JRM

The Defence Secretary was speaking to Nick Ferrari

Ben Wallace accuses Rishi Suank of trying to block extra cash for defence spending

Ben Wallace is backing Liz Truss

'Feisty' Truss is my choice for PM, says Ben Wallace as he reveals endorsement

Tory party co-chair looks ahead to LBC leadership hustings with Nick Ferrari

Tory party co-chairman looks ahead to LBC leadership hustings with Nick Ferrari

'Totally invented tosh': Nadine Dorries dismisses claims she'd give up her constituency seat for Boris

'Totally invented tosh': Nadine Dorries dismisses claims she'd give up seat for Boris

Sunak is 'opposed to transparency' over police league table plans, says minister

Sunak is 'opposed to transparency' over police league table plans, says minister

Exclusive
'Do you want him evicted?': Mick Lynch defends RMT deputy living in council flat on £78k

'Do you want him evicted?': Mick Lynch defends RMT deputy living in council flat on £78k

Exclusive
Social workers 'showed no interest' in tragic Lily-Mai case, grandfather tells LBC

Social workers showed 'no interest' in tragic Lily-Mai case, grandfather tells LBC

A furious Nick Ferrari summed up the issue

Nick Ferrari slams 'sanctimonious' BBC over Princess Diana interview