The trade deal signed with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein will benefit the economy by up to £21 billion and, will open the doors of these countries to UK cheesemakers and pig and poultry farmers. However, there is growing opposition from UK farmers to a deal with Australia, which is expected to finalise soon.
This month, the UK has signed a trade agreement with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, which, according to Trade minister Liz Truss will cut tariffs on UK farm products such as cheese and meat.
Under the deal, Norway has reduced its duties in 26 areas of agriculture. These areas include provisions to allow a quantity of West Country farmhouse Cheddar, Orkney Scottish Island Cheddar, traditional Welsh Caerphilly, and Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese to avoid full 277 per cent export tariffs.
However, there is less enthusiasm for the deal with Australia, as beef farmers fear that the removal of tariffs for agricultural products will lead to a flood of Australian imports and undercut home-grown produce. These UK farmers are also concerned that Australia might introduce lower quality products to UK consumers, as the country farms on such a large scale.
Farmers in Australia are allowed to use some hormone growth promoters, pesticides, and feed additives that are banned in the UK. Therefore, UK beef producers are understandably keen to ensure that imported meat conforms to UK standards.
As one beef producers commented, it’s not that the industry is afraid of a Free Trade Deal but needs assurance that standards are upheld. However, a spokesperson for the Government said that any deal it signs will include protections for the agriculture industry and will not undercut UK farmers or compromise the UK’s high standards.
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