Liz Truss shuts down host over UK-Australia trade deal
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International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has defended the UK Australia free trade deal during a clash on LBC. The Tory minister was called on to reassure British farmers the post-Brexit deal would not harm their livelihoods or damage food health standards. The Minister was clear the UK market was not going to be swamped by hormone implanted beef as a result of the deal and said she was confident that British farmers would be able to compete against zero-tariff Australian imports.
A farmer called into Nick Ferrari’s LBC shot to tell the Minister he and other farmers were”extremely concerned” about the deal and the repercussions of allowing Australian food producers tariff-free access to the UK market.
He asked: “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?”
Ms Truss replied: 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.”
Mr Ferrari jumped in and pressed the Trade Secretary on what additional benefits UK farmers would receive in the deal.
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The radio host asked: “He’s not getting anything that he’s not got now, is he?”
Ms Truss replied: “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?” quizzed Mr Ferrari.
“So now there’s a danger, I read, that we’ll be flooded with hormone-implanted beef?”
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“UK beef is very competitive…so I am fully confident that our farmers will be able to compete,” the International Trade secretary said.
The exchange on LBC comes as Brexiteer and former MEP Ben Habib told Express.co.uk: “The UK’s failure so far to do a tariff and quota-free trade deal with Australia has nothing to do with the threat this would pose to British farmers.
“It is not because Remainers are putting a spanner in the works.
“It is a direct result of the lousy Withdrawal Agreement (WA), Boris’s Irish Sea border and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) with the EU.”
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Mr Habib continued: “Liz Truss has done a brilliant job rolling over trade agreements with countries which previously had deals with the EU. But her successes are limited to rollovers of EU deals.
“The proposed trade agreement with Australia would have been her first genuine new trade deal. It was her first test of a post-Brexit British trade policy.”
The Brexiteer warned: “Even though Australia is our seventh-largest trading partner, a member of the Commonwealth, culturally, politically and even constitutionally joined to us at the hip we are about to fail in this relatively simple endeavour.
“The reason for our failing to reach terms with Australia is because a genuinely free trade deal would require diverging from EU regulations.
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