Tariffs axed immediately on Australian beef and lamb, triggering fears that farmers will be sent ‘to the wall’

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Tariffs will be scrapped immediately on imported beef and lamb from Australia, triggering accusations that the trade deal struck by Boris Johnson will send UK farmers “to the wall”.

The small print of the first major post-Brexit agreement – revealed by Canberra, as the UK government tried to keep it under wraps – revealed a pledge to protect farmers for 15 years has been dropped.

Instead, Australian farmers will effectively be handed tariff-free access from day one, up to a “cap” on sales that is 60 times the current level of imported beef.

The detail was revealed as experts warned the overall economic boost from the deal would be “close to zero” – and the government admitted the average household would be just £1.20 a year better off.

The National Farmers Union demanded ministers come clean on exactly what has been agreed, “to ensure our high standards of production are not undermined by the terms of this deal”.

Emily Thornberry, Labour’s shadow trade secretary, also said: “No other country in the world would accept such a terrible deal for its farming industry, and neither should we.

“With this deal, and the precedent it sets for New Zealand, America, Canada and Brazil, the government will send thousands of farmers to the wall, undermine our standards of animal welfare and environmental protection, and threaten the conservation of our countryside.”

 

 

by Rob Merrick / Independent

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