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Liz Truss ‘fully confident’ UK farmers will compete and thrive under new Aussie trade deal

Liz Truss shuts down host over UK-Australia trade deal

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The international trade secretary is expected to sign a free trade deal with Australia in the coming weeks. The agreement will give Australian food importers tariff and quota free access to UK markets. The move has caused considerable concern among the British farming lobby, which has voiced concern that UK farmers will be priced out of their own markets.

However, Ms Truss said she had no doubts that British farmers will continue to thrive under the new deal.

“UK beef is very competitive and we are already exporting it to markets around the world,” she told LBC Radio.

“So I am fully confident that our farmers will be able to compete.”

Ms Truss pointed out that the UK imports over 200,000 tonnes of beef from Europe, which is a much bigger producer than Australia.

She explained: “So what we are talking about is, in the long term – so this is not going to happen quickly, there will be a very long transition period – allowing Australia the same kind of access the EU already has.”

Currently, Australian beef imports incur a 20 percent tariff charge.

The British Government plans to phase these charges out over the course of the next 15 years.

In return Canberra is promising to reduce imports on British goods such as Scotch and cars, as well as facilitating greater UK investment in Australia.

The international trade secretary said the Australian deal was a great business opportunity for UK farmers.

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She claimed it would open doors to the wider Asia-Pacific region where “prices are higher for products like beef and lamb”.

Her comments come as Labour insisted that any post-Brexit trade deal with Australia must be properly scrutinised by parliament.

Shadow international trade secretary Emily Thornberry urged Ms Truss to reveal to MPs the details of the deal and its full implications for British agriculture.

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