Farming expert reveals differences between UK and Australia
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Ms Truss is in continued talks over a post-Brexit Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Australia and is hoping to strike a deal within the next two weeks. Both countries have agreed on the vast majority of issues for a deal, which official estimates say could add £500million to British economic output over the long term, but reports have suggested this could include a period of up to 15 years with zero tariffs and zero quotas. The proposal has faced a huge backlash from British farmers, who have warned they face being undercut by a wave of meat imports from Australia that could flood the market under an FTA.
But a new poll has found 65 percent of respondents support the much-criticised FTA with the Southern Hemisphere powerhouse, and also topped a list of countries with which people believe Britain should increase trade.
The C|T Group survey of 1,500 British adults and 1,500 Australians for the Adam Smith Institute think tank found two-thirds (66 percent) are in favour of more trade with Australia versus just under half (48 percent) preferring more trade with the US.
Some seven in ten respondents agreed with the statement that “Free trade is generally a good thing, and benefits all sides.”
Overall, just under two-thirds (64 percent) of UK respondents believe British farmers should compete on a level playing field with foreign imports of the same standards.
Over half said consumers said UK consumers should not be hit with a restriction on Australian farming goods produced at a lower price.
Two-thirds (66 percent) of the total respondents believe Australian food safety and animal welfare is of a high standard, compared to just six percent who disagreed.
Just over six in ten (63 percent) were in favour of an FTA with Australia even if it would mean reduced profits for British farmers and some even going out of business.
More than half (52 percent) said they would choose Australian beef as an alternative to that from Britain, with just 24 percent siding with EU beef.
Dr Michael Turner, a fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, said: “Brits clearly believe in the core benefits of free trade, but also the ability of British farmers and businesses to seize the opportunity that a UK-Australia trade deal will provide.
“Brits back British farmers to compete and grow their businesses, and a majority say they feel British goods will be in high demand down under.
“From Tim Tams to Cornish pasties, Aussie beef to British cheese, the results show consumers in both countries have a healthy and reciprocal appetite to consume goods made in each other’s countries.
“Contrary to the popular narrative of the inward-looking and protectionist Brexit voter, this research shows that the overwhelming majority of those who voted to Leave the EU in 2016, are in fact supportive of a more outwardly-focused and freely trading Britain post-Brexit.
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“Not only are Leavers more likely than Remainers to understand the benefits of free trade, but they are also less likely than Remainers to want industries protected from competition through tariff hikes.”
A Department of International Trade source said: “This is precisely why we left the EU – to strike out beyond Europe and deepen ties with nations like Australia who share our values and commitment to high standards in areas like food and animal welfare.
“The public are right to have faith in a deal. It will boost exports from whisky to services, supporting jobs here at home, and mean more choice on our supermarket shelves.
“A deal will help lock in our divergence from the EU and pivot Britain towards faster-growing markets in Asia Pacific.”
Last week, Britain and Australia held another round of talks as both countries look to press ahead with an agreement on a lucrative FTA.
British High Commissioner to Australia Vicki Treadell said the UK’s International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and her Australian counterpart Dan Tehan held talks late on Thursday.
She said: “We are working hard to have an agreement in principle at the bilateral between Prime Ministers Johnson and Morrison on June 15.
“Last night secretary state Liz Truss had another session with Trade Minister Tehan and respective chief negotiators.”
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