Duty-free Australian lamb plans outraged British farmers

The Financial Times reported that a bitter dispute was raging within the government. The responsible Environment Minister George Eustice warned on Tuesday on Sky News that a balance was necessary between commercial interests and the desire for free trade.

The planned agreements are considered an important step – they would be the first free trade agreements that the government negotiated itself after Brexit. Minister Truss wants to complete it by the G7 summit in Cornwall in mid-June, at which Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will also be a guest. The bilateral agreements announced so far are ultimately only copies of the existing EU treaties.

The online portal “Politico” quoted an unnamed Truss ally: “If we can’t even make an agreement with Australia (…), we can pack up and close the shop right away.” The government is hoping that the Australia deal will generate an increase of up to 0.02 percent of gross domestic product over 15 years. But farmers fear a “creeping death”. “There is a very real risk that UK agriculture will suffer irreversible damage instead of thriving in the way we all want,” said Farmers Association President Minette Batters.

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