finance

Scottish farmers braced for 'significant impact' from Aussie trade deal



Scotland’s farming community are facing a “significant impact” from Australian imports of beef and lamb due to the UK Government’s post-Brexit trade deal with the country, according to the National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS).

Speaking in front of the Lords’ International Agreements Committee, NFUS political affairs manager Beatrice Morrice expressed her disappointment in the safeguarding of Scottish farmers interests in the deal, alongside her counterpart in England.

Morrice described the safeguards of the deal as “very short-term” and not in line with those promised to the sector prior to the agreement made by those in Westminster, adding: “After 15 years, there is no recourse at all, and that could impact significantly on the farming sector in Scotland.”

The Scottish Government has long demanded more parliamentary scrutiny over the deal, due to concerns over a lack of tariff rate quotas and enforceable safeguards, which could see Australian producers flood Scotland’s market with specific prime cuts to its beef and lamb.

Shadow International Trade Secretary Drew Hendry said: “This is a damning statement from the NFUS political affairs manager, and one that echoes what the SNP has been saying from the outset.

“Beyond the rhetoric thrown at us from the UK Government, this deal with Australia opens up Scotland’s market to cheaper imports of goods which, in turn, leads to lower animal welfare standards.

“This results in Scotland’s farmers, crofters and food producers being undercut and undermined by a Tory government who simply do not care for their welfare or livelihoods.”

The UK Government’s own economic analysis suggests that UK GDP will increase by 0.08% as a result of this deal, while Brexit would lead to a 4.9% contraction in GDP.

The trade deal with Australia is expected to unlock £10.4bn of additional trade, increasing wages across the UK, while eliminating tariffs on 100% of UK exports, making it cheaper to sell products like cars, Scotch whisky and UK fashion down under.

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