Cumbria MP says trade deal struck between Britain and Australia needs more scrutiny

Dr Neil Hudson MP

The trade deal struck between Britain and Australia needs more scrutiny according to a Cumbrian MP.

The UK government denied that imports of Australian beef would flood the UK and said British export markets would grow. 

Dr Neil Hudson MP said: “Broadly, I welcome the possibility of a mutually-beneficial trade deal between our two nations but it has to be the right one that recognises that whilst we have so much in common with our friends in Australia, our economies are different and any trade deal should reflect that.

"For example, when it comes to livestock farms the costs of production are much lower in Australia and they have very different animal husbandry methods to us; I say this as someone who has worked as a vet on farms both in the UK and Australia.

"I am pleased the Government has listened to my call for tariff rate quotas to be used as a safeguard for the UK agricultural sector. I continue to call for urgent meaningful parliamentary scrutiny of the trade deal and for the Trade and Agriculture Commission to be reconstituted immediately.

"I will stand up our farmers and our high animal welfare standards and will continue to fight for them in Parliament.”

Credit: ITV News

There has also been criticism of the deal in Scotland. The Holyrood trade minister, Ivan McKee, hit out at the UK Government after a briefing for the devolved administrations on the UK's new trade deal was delayed because "not enough of the deal is nailed down".

Mr McKee revealed he and colleagues from the Welsh and Northern IrishGovernments were due to be given more details of the detail on Tuesday morning.

But he tweeted he was "very interested to read so much informed coverage" ofthe agreement.

Mr McKee claimed: "I was due to be briefed by the UK Gov along with ministersfrom Wales and NI this morning, but our call has been put back until much laterbecause we were told, 'not enough of the deal is nailed down'."

Mr McKee stated: "The Scottish Government has seen no details of the agreementreached with the Australian government.

"We have had no role in the negotiations on tariffs and quotas despiteregularly pressing the UK Government for this.

"What we do know, however, is that this deal does not even remotely undo thedamage to our economy caused by Brexit. The UK Government's own scopingassessment said a deal with Australia would only be worth a 0.02% increase inGDP over 15 years - and that agriculture and semi-processed food sectors wouldlose out.

"By comparison, the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates that a tradedeal with the EU would mean the UK's GDP would be 4% lower in the long runcompared with remaining in the EU."

He said it was "essential" that a full impact assessment of Australia tradedeal be carried out as he warned it could be "damaging for farmers andcrofters".

Scottish Secretary, Alister Jack, stated that "measures to protect theUK's agriculture industry and maintain high standards will also help Scottishfarmers make the most of international opportunities opened up by this deal".

Mr Jack insisted the "extensive" new trade agreement was "very welcome newsfor Scotland and the whole of the UK".

He said: "Australia is the world's eighth largest market for Scotch whiskyexports, worth £113 million last year. The removal of tariffs presents afantastic opportunity for our iconic distilleries.

"Scotland's financial services, manufacturing and pharmaceutical sectors willalso receive a boost."