An Australian deal: assessing the implications for UK food standards

28 May 2021 / IKnowFood

A free-trade agreement with Australia provides the first big test of just how serious the Government is about protecting the UK’s food standards.

Cattle in Australia

A new comment piece by IKnowFood Supply Chain Research Theme Co-Lead Tony Heron, Professor of International Politics at the University of York and Fiona Smith, Professor in International Economic Law, University of Leeds, takes a critical look at the potential new free trade agreement with Australia.

“Although the overall economic effects of a free-trade deal with Australia will be modest, it could have disproportionate impacts in Wales and Scotland where upland farmers are already reeling from the trade disruption caused by Brexit and the phasing out of EU subsidies, not to mention Covid.”

Currently access to the UK market is controlled by tarrifs and tarrif-rate quotas and two recent commissions, the National Food Strategy (NFS) and the Trade and Agricultural Commission (TAC), have recommended upholding existing food standards. Squaring this circle “remains the central political problem raised by the Australian deal – how to satisfy the competing interests of different stakeholders and who to blame when things go wrong.”

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