Nick Ferrari challenges trade secretary over UK-Aus deal amid fears for British farming

24 May 2021, 11:19

By Fiona Jones

Nick Ferrari challenged International Trade Secretary Liz Truss over plans for a no-tariff Australia-UK post-Brexit trade deal, amid fears it will "ruin" British farming.

It comes amid proposals from 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.

Farmer Will told Ms Truss on LBC's Call the Cabinet that he and other farmers are "extremely concerned" about the deal and the implications of a tariff-free access to the UK market for their producers.

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

"How will you answer the concerns of farmers in this country who are quite worried about animal welfare standards, hormonal growth promoters, competition and being forced out of business?" he asked.

The Secretary of State responded, "What the Australian deal does is it opens the doors to the wider Asian-Pacific region where prices are higher for products like beef and lamb, so this is an overall opportunity."

Nick asked what difference this will make to British farmers who can already sell their produce into the Australian market: "He's not getting anything that he's not got now, is he?"

Ms Truss responded, "Australia are not competitive with lamb. Currently their lamb prices in the UK are higher than we can produce lamb at."

"Will can already sell his sausages and beef into Australia, but now Australia can sell into the United Kingdom without tariffs? So now there's a danger, I read, that we'll be flooded with hormone-implanted beef?"

The international trade secretary confirmed there will be no hormone-implanted beef entering the United Kingdom under any circumstances.

"UK beef is very competitive...so I am fully confident that our farmers will be able to compete," she said.