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NFU seeks 'urgent answers' over Government trade deal plans

22nd May 2021 / By Alistair Driver

The NFU is demanding 'urgent answers' from the government regarding its future trade policy and the ongoing negotiations with Australia on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

This follows reports suggesting that, following a Cabinet meeting on Thursday, the Government is set to offer Australia a trade deal that includes a 15-year transition to zero-tariffs and zero-quotas. International Trade Secretary Liz Truss is reported to be keen to get the deal signed off by the time of the G7 summit in Cornwall in June.

However, NFU president Minette Batters has warned that a deal of this nature would amount to a 'serious betrayal' of farmers.

While the Australian deal would mainly affect UK beef and sheep farmers, there are fears it could set a precedent for future deals with the likes of the US that would pose a threat to UK pig producers.

The NFU has asked the Government to address five key questions about the Government's future trade policy:

  • What specific meaningful safeguards for domestic agriculture will be included in our FTAs?
  • What is the government’s plan to continually review the impact of our FTAs as they are implemented and through the lifetime of the agreements?
  • Where is the comprehensive and cross-government strategy to improve productivity and competitiveness and to provide adjustment assistance for farming in respect to the changing market conditions resulting from new FTAs?
  • Where is the government’s response to the Trade and Agriculture Commission’s report in March 2021 and why has the new statutory Trade and Agriculture Commission that will need to scrutinise trade deals before they are signed not yet been set up?
  • What precedent does the government expect will be set by each FTA and where is the detailed economic assessment of the cumulative impact on domestic UK agriculture of all the UK’s current and future FTAs?

You can read more on this on the Pig World website.