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Chair comments on Australia trade deal announcement

15 June 2021

Commenting on the announcement that the Government has reached a trade agreement in principle with Australia, International Trade Committee Chair, Angus Brendan MacNeil MP, said:

“The UK and Australian negotiating teams have worked hard to reach this agreement in principle and it’s encouraging to see the Aussie appetite for our products. While the devil will be in the detail, and the prospect of increased trade with Australia is welcome, it cannot be on their terms or to an Australian tune.

“In its rush to reach an initial agreement, I fear the Government could sign up to something which brings significant harms as well as benefits. The views of the entire farming sector especially are no secret now, including those in the devolved nations, who are particularly concerned about being undercut by cheaper meat and dairy produce from ‘down under’.

“My Committee will hold the Government to account for its promise that UK farmers won’t be undercut by imports produced to lower standards. No one wants an agricultural industry left stuck in the mud.

“The trade negotiation team must come to a public hearing of the Committee; this is too important for a ‘pig in a poke’ deal - we don't want the UK to agree to something that hasn't been scrutinised.

“We look forward to seeing further details about what has been agreed in principle and the full text of the agreement with enough time to allow it to be subjected to rigorous scrutiny, during and at the end of the process.”

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