Johnson is said to have chaired the cabinet meeting on Thursday
According to reports, the UK government is due to make an offer to Australia on a trade deal to phase out tariffs and quotas.
Media reports in the UK released today (May 21) said tariffs and quotas would be run over a 15 year period.
Reports earlier this week indicated the UK government was divided over the type of deal to be presented to Australia. UK broadcaster of the BBCCiting sources on Downing Street, cabinet said today it had agreed on a position.
In July the UK government announced that London and Canberra “have reached consensus on the vast majority of the elements of a comprehensive free trade agreement”. At the time, Truss said the two countries would “spend the next few weeks ironing out details and resolving open issues in order to reach an agreement by June”.
British farmers, particularly those involved in livestock production, have long spoken out against free access to imports from Australia. Currently, Australian meat exporters have to pay tariffs on exports to the UK.
Earlier this week the UK farmers ‘organization The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) called on the country’s government to “stand up for British farmers in all negotiations”.
NFU President Minette Batters said: “The UK government faces a choice. It must recognize that opening up duty-free trade to all imports of products such as beef and lamb means that UK agriculture is going after its current works to a high standard, will struggle to compete.
“Negotiators also need to consider the cumulative impact of our free trade agreements, which the government has announced will be concluded in a few weeks. They will be the first in a series of deals that will undoubtedly improve market access to the UK. The government needs to evaluate how the multi-trading partner impact of these concessions will affect local producers and the rural economy. “
According to the Australian government, reciprocal trade in goods and services between Australia and the UK was valued at A $ 36.7 billion (USD 28.56 billion) in 2019/20.
Australia has said it wants a Free Trade Agreement between Canberra and London to “improve market access for Australian agricultural and industrial products, reduce trade barriers and costs through modern customs, rules of origin and trade facilitation procedures;” [and] Include mechanisms that remove non-tariff barriers “.
A statement on the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website, outlining Canberra’s benefits from a possible deal, said: “Australian agricultural exports to the UK have been relatively low since Britain joined the EU due to high tariffs other barriers to trade imposed by the UK as a member of the EU. Although it is unlikely that we will return to pre-EU agricultural trade volumes with the UK, Australian agricultural exporters have since traded to other markets, particularly in Asia, diverted Greater choice is important for our primary producers, especially for our post-Covid economic recovery. “
In a statement released this afternoon, UK industry association The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) said that Canberra “this week” made “allegations” that Australia “will not send large quantities of meat to the UK,” but that might sound reassuring Volume of meat imported can have a disproportionate impact on UK businesses. “
Peter Hardwick, Trade Policy Advisor at BMPA, said: “For example, a 20-foot container load of 17,000 kilograms of beef and a full range of beef cuts could represent the meat of only 60 animals. A similar shipment only contains [high value] Boneless loins would have come from over 1,000 animals. If it were fillet steaks, it could be three times that number. It’s not the amount of meat by weight that matters. It is the amount of high quality cuts that will disproportionately affect the market. “
UK Newsper The guard Today Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan, who was quoted as saying, reported that he was confident that British farmers could be appeased.
“What I would say to UK farmers is that the Australian agribusiness and the UK can work together to increase agricultural production in the UK and agricultural production here in Australia,” Tehan was quoted as saying.