Australia trade deal 'will benefit UK wine industry' says expert
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Deputy President of the Country Land and Business Association Mark Tufnell explained to Express.co.uk that while his members are concerned over the details of a zero-tariff trade deal with Australia there could be some benefits to the arrangements. Mr Tufnell explained British sparkling wine is one of the best in the world and is growing rapidly with exports to foreign countries doubling in 2020. He explained while CLA members are worried about competing with lower quality imports from Australia, the flipside is the trade deal could open up British goods to potentially flourish in markets down under.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Tufnell admitted it was not all doom and gloom with the Australian trade deal and said British wine could do well under it.
He explained: “[The deal] will help in the export of our high-quality products when they’re properly labelled, they’re properly marketed.
“Welsh lamb is a high-quality product and will be welcomed in these markets.
“Similarly Welsh beef, but if you move away from meat and you think about other commodities, we have a burgeoning wine industry within this country.
“English sparkling wine is amongst the best in the world and if we can put that product into Australia, which obviously has its own wine sector, but if we can put it in there without the tariff barriers that there are at the moment then that would be a huge benefit to so many of our members.
“Particularly in the southeast but also there’s wine grown in Yorkshire and it’s spread all over the country.
“So that would be a benefit, and then within the manufacturing sector, those areas where they manufacturer tractors, they could be exported and that would help key industries.
“We represent not just farmers, we represent managers and rural businesses and rural businesses could benefit easily from these free trade agreements that we have with other countries outside of the EU.”
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But Mr Tufnell clarified that for many years, CLA members had benefited from exporting to the EU and while an Australian deal could be beneficial, it pales in comparison to what they could have in Europe.
The rural chief also revealed the CLA, which looks after 30,000 rural business members which account for 50 percent of English rural land, has some concerns over the Australian trade deal as they fear they will have to compete with an inferior product.
He explained British meat is some of the best in the world who follow some of the toughest standards.
The importation of cheaper and lower standard meats sends a message that quality is not important for British consumers.
The CLA deputy added it was important for food products to be labelled properly with what meat is in them, for example, if ready meals have either British or Australian meat so the consumer can make better choices.
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Mr Tufnell also explained for the price of British meat, the UK consumer gets a very good deal for its high quality.
International Trade Secretary Liz Truss is pushing ahead with a reported zero-tariff trade agreement with Australia which will be the first post-Brexit deal that has not been a renewal or addition on an old one.
The decision has reportedly caused fractures in the Cabinet with Environment Secretary George Eustice warning it could be disastrous for British farmers who will have to compete with the new goods.
Cabinet Minister Michael Gove is also reportedly against the deal as he is concerned over the political fallout from the agreement.
The SNP have opposed the move as they position themselves on the side of Scottish farmers – something Mr Gove appeared to allude to.
Ms Truss is attempting to secure the deal before the G7 Summit on June 11 and has invited several Australian delegates to the UK ahead of the meeting despite not being part of the group.
Australia has a thriving wine industry but has been hit by tariffs from China following political disagreements over the origin of coronavirus.
China is one of Australia’s biggest markets but has seen tariffs of up to 220 percent slapped on its wine.
In 2019, the Australian wine industry was valued at £1.5billion.
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