A trade deal between the UK and Australia has been agreed between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his counterpart, Scott Morrison.

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Downing Street said the new pact meant British products such as cars, Scotch whisky, biscuits and ceramics would be cheaper to sell to Australia.

However, there has been concern from UK farmers over the deal.

The agreement is the first trade deal to be built from scratch since the UK left the EU.

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It is seen as an important step towards the UK joining a wider Asia Pacific free-trade agreement.

“Today marks a new dawn in the UK’s relationship with Australia, underpinned by our shared history and common values,” Mr Johnson said in a statement:

“Our new free trade agreement opens fantastic opportunities for British businesses and consumers, as well as young people wanting the chance to work and live on the other side of the world.

“This is global Britain at its best – looking outwards and striking deals that deepen our alliances and help ensure every part of the country builds back better from the pandemic.”

The UK government has signed a long list of trade deals over the past year, but they have been rollovers of those the UK already had as part of the EU.

Mr Johnson and Mr Morrison agreed the deal over dinner on Monday.

The new trade deal gives UK and Australian food producers and other businesses easier access to each other’s markets – an ambition perhaps alluded to by the meal served up to the two prime ministers – Welsh lamb and Scottish smoked salmon, served with Australian wine.

The UK government says membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) could provide British farmers with huge opportunities.

However, there have been concerns in the farming community about the UK compromising on its food standards, as well as tensions in government between the Environment Secretary, George Eustice, and the Trade Secretary, Liz Truss.

UK farmers also have concerns there will be no meaningful safeguards in place to stop farmers being undercut by cheap imports.

Farmers in Australia are allowed to use some hormone growth promoters, pesticides, and feed additives that are banned in the UK.

According to the National Farmers Union (NFU), Australian farmers are able to produce beef at a lower cost of production, and could undercut farmers in the UK.

Scotland had raised worries about the farming industry being overwhelmed if the market was flooded with lower standard goods.

The Department for International Trade has previously said any deal with Australia would include protections for the agriculture industry and not compromise the UK’s high standards.

Trade Secretary Liz Truss defended plans for a deal with Australia last month, telling MPs: “We will make sure in all the deals we do that British farming thrives.”

In 2019-20, trade in goods and services between Australia and the UK was valued at £20.1bn.

Metals, wine and machines have formed the biggest goods exports from Australia to the UK, while Australia’s main UK imports are cars, medicines and alcoholic drinks.

Trade in meat between the two countries is small at present, with 14% of sheep meat imports to the UK coming from Australia and just 0.15% of all Australian beef exports going to the UK.





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