United Kingdom agrees first post-Brexit trade deal with Australia

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Farming unions say they have "grave concerns" about the terms of the trade deal agreed between Australia and the UK.

"An FTA with Australia, and the way it has been agreed without proper industry consultation or scrutiny, sets a risky precedent for other free trade agreements, including those with other major farming and food producing nations such as New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and the United States", Mr Kennedy said.

Those arguments have rung hollow.

He said: "MPs must do all they can to prevent a culture of "ignore the warnings, get it done and deal with the consequences later" predominating when it comes to this and other trade deals".

There had previously been fears from Welsh farmers that a free trade deal would cause "irreversible damage" to their industry, by making it cheaper to buy Australian meat than local produce.

The UK Government claims farmers will be protected by a cap on tariff-free imports for 15 years.

"The agreement paves the way for us to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a £9 trillion free trade area home to some of the biggest consumer markets of the present and future".

Johnson and Morrison, who reached the in-principle agreement over dinner on Monday, are set to formally announce the deal Tuesday morning.

"The cumulative impact of all such trade deals on extremely vulnerable sectors such as farming, food and drink could be hugely destructive".

Issues remain that some industry leaders have raised concerns over potential food standards compromises. "Australian farming allows the use of 71 highly hazardous substances and thousands more types of pesticides that are now banned in the U.K".

The UK was the third largest direct investor in Australia and the second largest recipient of Australian foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2020.

While farmers remain anxious, the Scotch Whisky Association welcomed the deal's proposal to remove the existing 5% tariff on whisky exports. This will help Scotch whisky distillers continue to expand exports to Australia, which have nearly doubled over the last decade, making Australia our eighth largest market by value.

"Our preference is always for tariff-free trade, which enables Scotch whisky to compete on a level playing field and on the strength of our reputation for quality".

According to United Kingdom trade officials, the new FTA means iconic British products like cars, Scotch whisky, biscuits and ceramics will be cheaper to sell into Australia, boosting United Kingdom industries that employ 3.5 million people across the country.

"It will be good news for British auto manufacturers, it will be good news for British services, for British financial services and it will be good news for the agricultural sector on both sides".

Under the agreement, Brits under the age of 35 will also be able to travel and work in Australia more freely.

A formal announcement would be made later on Tuesday, Tehan said.

Australian Minister for Trade David Littleproud declined to reveal specifics but said Australian farmers would benefit from the deal.

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