Posted: Tue 15th Jun 2021

New UK – Australia trade deal, Mark Tami “very concerned” about impact on Flintshire farmers

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jun 15th, 2021

Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami has said he is “very concerned” about the potential impact a new UK trade deal with Australia will have on Flintshire farmers.

Boris Johnson has secured the first major trade deal negotiated from scratch by the UK Government since the United Kingdom left the EU.

The main elements of the deal were agreed by the prime minister and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison at a meeting in Downing Street on Monday, 14 June.

A final Agreement in Principle will be published in the coming days the UK Government has said.

The new Free Trade Agreement means British products like cars, Scotch whisky, biscuits and ceramics will be cheaper to sell into Australia.

The deal will permit huge increases in meat imports before any protective tariffs come into force.

Concerns have also been raised about a lack of detail on animal welfare and environmental safeguards in the agreement.

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has highlighted the need for Members of Parliament to do all they can to fully scrutinise and have a say on the trade deal.

“We have grave concerns that we could end up with a deal that’s catastrophic for animal welfare, the environment, our family farms and our food security – and that it will be set in stone,” said FUW President Glyn Roberts.

Mr Roberts said that in the past few days Boris Johnson had come under significant pressure from the world’s most powerful leaders because he had ignored all the warnings about the consequences of a deal he struck with the EU – the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“A few months after the Protocol came in he has decided it’s bad and wants to ignore it, but the other G7 members have been blunt in telling him that international treaties are binding and the rule of international law must be respected.”

Mr Roberts said MPs must therefore take extremely seriously the warnings about the implications of a trade deal that sets the UK on a permanent legally binding course to open us up to food produced to lower environmental and welfare standards and undermines our food security and the viability of our family farms.

“MPs must do all they can to prevent a culture of ‘ignore the warnings, get it done and deal with the consequences later’ predominating when it comes to this and other trade deals,” said Mr Roberts.

Over the last month the FUW has written to the Prime Minister and met with Government Ministers and MPs from across Wales, highlighting the major differences between UK and Australian standards and the economic damage cheap food imports could cause to our family farms.

15/06/2021. London, United Kingdom. Prime Minister Boris Johnson pose for a photograph with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as they exchange penguins and Timtam’s in 10 Downing Street. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

The union has also written to the Welsh Affairs Committee asking it to conduct an inquiry into the implications of a bad deal for Wales’ farmers, food standards and rural communities.

“We have made it clear during our meetings and in correspondence with all Welsh MPs that we are not opposed to a UK-Australia deal, but we are opposed to a damaging deal that paves the way for further deals that add to that damage,” he added.

Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami said he “I am very concerned about the impact that the UK Government’s trade deal with Australia will have on Flintshire farmers.

“The FUW is absolutely right to raise the concerns they have. Not only will this lead to a higher risk of disease from food, but lower standards in Australia could mean Flintshire farmers are put out of business by cheaper meat.”

“This is the first major trade deal since Brexit and it’s worrying that the Government have gone straight in to undermine our food standards.”

“If they’re starting as they mean to go on, especially when it comes to a deal with the USA, this will be the end of British farmers, and our supermarkets will be packed with chlorine washed chicken and hormone fed beef.”

“This won’t be good for Britain, won’t be good for Flintshire farmers and is absolutely not what local people want to eat.”

“Unfortunately, North Wales’ Tory MPs voted to take away parliament’s ability to say no to Boris Johnson on trade deals, and so it’s much harder to stop the Government selling out farmers and shoppers.”

“It’s therefore vital that all North Wales MPs come out now and say they won’t a bad deal, and I hope they will join me in doing so.”

Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, Andrew RT Davies MS said: “High standards and strong environmental protections should be the cornerstone to any agreement, and I’m pleased to see such commitments from the Prime Minister.”

“Farmers across Wales and the United Kingdom will be protected by a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years, using tariff rate quotas and other safeguards, whilst also supporting agricultural producers to increase their exports overseas, including to new markets in the Indo-Pacific.”

“Rather than complaining and cowering, it’s vital Labour ministers in Cardiff Bay now ensures Wales is at the front of the queue to capitalise on the numerous opportunities created for Welsh businesses by these new trade deals, which will allow us to build back better after the pandemic.”

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