Julian meets Trade Minister regarding Australia trade agreement
May 30, 2021
This week, Julian and other Yorkshire and Humber Conservative MPs met with Trade Minister Greg Hands about the new trade deal with Australia the government is looking to agree shortly.
Julian believes we should only strike a deal if it supports our own agriculture sector, that continues to make such great efforts to keep our food and production standards at perhaps the highest level in the world.
He has previously been willing to defy the government on the issue of preserving high UK food standards and fair terms of trade for our own producers, voting against the government several times on the recent Trade and Agriculture Bills, and forcing them into a compromise on the latter.
Following the meeting, Julian’s view is: “Like virtually all the farmer representatives and other groups that have expressed reservations about aspects of a proposed deal, my position is that I would like to see one agreed, if fair terms can be reached, as there are serious opportunities to sell more high-quality British food around the world. Food and drink is in fact already a big part of our export trade, and the lifting of Australian tariff charges on our imports to them would give British exporters greater access to this wealthy market.
However, I would be alarmed by any shift to allow the import of goods made to lower standards then we hold our own farmers too, which would not be a level playing field.
But while asking tough questions, as I will continue to do, we must be careful not to scaremonger, and also consider the ability of our farmers to compete and sell their quality products on world markets. For instance, I am reassured by the government’s clear position that there is no question of relaxing our ban on the entry of hormone-fed beef. Australian food standards are also actually higher than the EU in several important ways, with practices like foie gras production and chicken castration banned in Australia, but permitted under the EU rules we have so far had to adhere to.
However, I reiterate that I am more than happy to oppose the government on this if necessary, and will be watching carefully as talks continue.”