Australia likely to be first new post-Brexit competitor for Ireland on UK market

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Farmers across the United Kingdom and Ireland are bracing themselves for an ambitious liberalising trade pact between Australia and the UK, its first major new trade deal since leaving the EU.

UK officials have confirmed that the trade deal to be offered to Australia would see tariffs and quotas on goods traded between the two countries phased out over 15 years.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson hopes to conclude the deal before he will host a G7 summit in June.

Australia has been pushing for a five-year transition, but the 15-year period is said to have been signed off by the UK Cabinet sub-committee in charge of the negotiations.

Currently, Australian imports incur tariff charges when entering the UK, for example, 20% in the case of beef.

The trade agreement is likely to lead to an increase in Australian meat imports into the UK.

Hugh Killen, the chief executive of Australian Agricultural Company, Australia’s largest integrated cattle and beef producer, has forecast that beef exports could increase tenfold.

In the UK, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) warned that small-scale beef and lamb farmers in the UK risk being put out of business by the Australia meat production industry.

Only 0.15% of Australian beef exports went to the UK in 2020, however 14% of the UK’s sheep meat imports came from Australia.

 

 

by Stephen Cadogan / Irish Examiner

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