Australia trade fears dismantled by top economist: ‘Where was outrage at EU deal?’
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Ahead of the announcement of the expected trade agreement with Australia, one economist has insisted the UK has waited too long to open up its economy. Picking apart the claim any deal will undercut UK farmers, economist Catharine McBride claimed cattle farmers represent an inefficient part of the sector. Ms McBride also warned, opening up the country to zero tariffs and quotas is the only way to welcome the dividends Brexit provides.
Exposing the argument against a deal with Australia, the economist insisted Australian farmers offer no threat to the UK market.
While the National Farmers Union (NFU) has criticised the Government over its proposed zero-quota deal, Ms McBride revealed only a small part of the farming industry in Australia offers any competition to Britain.
She also attacked the NFU for the lack of opposition to the zero-tariff with the EU, who are in direct competition with UK farmers.
She wrote: “Where was the NFU outcry about the tariff and quota-free trade deal with the EU?
“EU farmers are in direct competition with UK farmers.
“They produce the same crops, in the same season, mostly with the same temperate weather and sell into the same markets.
“Australian farmers offer no such threat.
“Australian farmers have specialised in the sectors where they have a comparative advantage – most notably sheep and cattle grazing.
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“But for UK agriculture, grazing is the problem child.
“While UK dairy farms, poultry farms, general cropping farms, pig farms, cereals farms and horticulture are all profitable; UK grazing is not.
“But grazing is the only sector that the NFU seems interested in protecting.”
The economist also called on the NFU to work with the Government to agree on loan packages so that farmers can expand and therefore hold more livestock.
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Ahead of the announcement of the deal, some have also warned the UK’s high agricultural and hygiene standards may not be kept.
However, in a further blow against the Remainer scaremongering, Ms McBride insisted Australia’s standards are higher than the UK’s in some areas.
Indeed, she claimed the UK’s standards don’t meet Australia’s SPS pork regulations.
She concluded: “There is no point in more protection for what must surely be the worst-performing industry in the UK.
“Instead, the Government should be signing tariff-free trade deals with more efficient producers, like Australia, that will benefit the whole country.”
While a deal has not been announced, it is throught Liz Truss will include a 15-year transition stage to filter in the changes to trade.
By doing so, she insisted farmers will have adequate time to adjust to the new agreement.
The UK has also set up the Trade and Agricultural Commission to scrutinise and inform the Government’s trade policies.
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