Apple producers fear that the trade deal signed with Australia in December could ruin their livelihoods, as the country allows the use of 33 hazardous organophosphates in agriculture, compared with four in the UK, allowing a flood of cheaper and sub-standard produce.

Meanwhile, the National Farmers Union (NFU) claims the Government has missed the opportunity to reach a ‘world-class’ free trade agreement (FTA) with Australia amid further concerns over Australian food imports produced to lower environmental and animal welfare standards.

In addition, the Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) has released a report on the free trade deal. It explains that it “is likely to lead to increased imports of products that have been produced at lower cost by using pesticides in Australia that would not be permitted in the UK.”

Moreover, despite assurances that certain sectors would be afforded some protection, according to the report, there will be full liberalisation of dairy after six years, sugar after eight years and beef and lamb after 15 years. In addition, there will also be no safeguards available for any products if imports reach damaging levels after the 15 years are up.

In response to the report, a spokeswoman for the NFU said that the deal is likely to pave the way for others to follow and that the body is “increasingly concerned about the cumulative impact of the Government’s FTA programme, especially as its own impact assessments anticipate a negative economic impact on UK farmers.”

Therefore, the NFU calls on the Government to provide a programme of policies and investment to help UK farming get ‘match ready’ for the tougher post-Brexit trading environment.

For more information or advice on related matters, please contact our experts at Smailes Goldie today.

Posted in Agriculture, Blog.