Published: Wed, June 16, 2021
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'Grave concerns' from Welsh farming unions over terms of Australia trade deal

'Grave concerns' from Welsh farming unions over terms of Australia trade deal

"We want quality over speed", Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today as New Zealand continues to negotiate for a United Kingdom free trade deal while Australia inked its own agreement this week.

The deal increases the working holiday visa age limit from 30 to 35 for Australians and Britons wanting to work and live in each other's countries.

It also claimed a lack of industry consultation set a "dangerous precedent" for future trade deals.

It is a fundamentally liberalising agreement that removes tariffs on all British goods, opens new opportunities for our services providers and tech firms, and makes it easier for our people to travel and work together, said Liz Truss, UK International Trade Secretary.

But NFU Scotland said it was still concerned.

"A trade deal with Australia will come as great news for many of our members who have always been exporting there as well as those who are hoping to expand their trade ambitions, said Mike Cherry, National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses".

Though details have still to emerge, some official estimates say the agreement could add 500 million pounds ($705.7 million) to British economic output over the long term.

"Australia is going to the front of the pack, set to become the UK's most ambitious post-Brexit trade partner", she said in a statement.

"The cumulative impact of all such trade deals on extremely vulnerable sectors such as farming, food and drink could be hugely destructive".

Issues remain that some industry leaders have raised concerns over potential food standards compromises. "Australian farming allows the use of 71 highly hazardous substances and thousands more types of pesticides that are now banned in the U.K".

"This is an agreement with great ambition for both countries".

While farmers remain anxious, the Scotch Whisky Association welcomed the deal's proposal to remove the existing 5% tariff on whisky exports. This will help Scotch whisky distillers continue to expand exports to Australia, which have nearly doubled over the last decade, making Australia our eighth largest market by value.

"Our preference is always for tariff-free trade, which enables Scotch whisky to compete on a level playing field and on the strength of our reputation for quality".

If New Zealand was able to achieve something close to it, it might be able to wrap up its own agreement within three to four months, he said.

The UK hopes to conclude more trade deals in the Asia Pacific region.

A formal announcement would be made later on Tuesday, Tehan said.

The deal, which is forecasted to boost U.K. GDP by a modest 0.02 percent over 15 years, has been a subject of concern for the agricultural sector, with British farmers warning that too much liberalization could set a risky precedent that would harm their industry.

To that end she also told Morrison: "Very nice to see you - in person this time".

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