UK government did not show ‘strength’ in Australia deal talks – Labor

Labor has warned that UK ministers have shown weakness in negotiating new trade deals, which other countries will try to take advantage of in the future.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan updated lawmakers about a UK and Australia trade deal that would cut tariffs on imports of wine and surfboards and make it easier for young Britons to work.

Ms Trevelyan described it as a “historic” deal and said it showed the UK was reaching out to “seize” future opportunities.

The International Trade Secretary also faced accusations of making overly optimistic estimates about the deal’s impact on the UK economy, but assured that the agreement had “strong” protections to prevent UK farmers from becoming vulnerable.


International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan (James Manning / PA)

Shadow International Trade Secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds expressed concern over the impact on British farmers, telling the Commons: “We will not hold the government to impossible standards, but we will hold the ministers with what they promised the people to negotiate. will distribute from

“Those promises make it even more important that ministers show power at the negotiating table and fully defend Britain’s interests, because in future negotiations other countries will see what was accepted by Australian negotiators and see it as an early start.” take it as a point.

“We already have a UK-Japan trade deal that benefits Japanese exporters five times more than UK exporters, and a worrying pattern is emerging of not standing up for UK interests.”

Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Olney (Richmond Park) said: “When you compare the original assessment of the economic impact of the Australia deal, which was released back in the summer with the government’s impact assessment published last month, was 1,000% An increase in the projected growth in UK GDP.

“But the small print makes clear that this is because the government has changed the economic model they are using to analyze the trade deal that produces a higher estimate of GDP.

“Can the business secretary offer any justification for this change or is it just a matter of cooking the books?”

The international trade secretary said the old estimate was “a snapshot of that time”, and invited Ms Olney to meet with civil servants to discuss changes since then.


A general view of the Opera House in Sydney, Australia (Steve Parsons / PA)

SNP foreign affairs spokeswoman Alyn Smith told lawmakers that there was a “complete lack of proper consultation with the farming and food sector” across Britain prior to the deal.

He continued: “While we are not against free trade, the deal appears to be very one-sided and of no use to Scottish farmers.

“Certainly Covid and Brexit, if they have taught us anything, they have taught us that indigenous food production in these islands, in fact in the continent, and short supply chains is a key to national security and really to national resilience. Although we are defining national .

Ms Trevelyan said “robust” safeguards were built into the deal for farmers after concerns were raised “through extensive consultations with many, many partners” in the food and beverage industry.