Britain ‘WON’T lower beef standards to secure a trade deal’ – but we could be drinking cheaper wine from Australia
- Australia has been pushing for the move as part of a new trade deal with the UK
- Liz Truss said that food standards was an issue she would not be giving way on
- Miss Truss did say that wine from Australia would be cheaper to buy in the UK
Britain will not lower its food standards so that it can import hormone-treated beef, Trade Secretary Liz Truss has said.
Australia has been pushing for the move as part of a new trade deal with the UK in the wake of Brexit.
But the Cabinet minister said that this was one issue she would not be giving way on.
Miss Truss said: ‘I’m absolutely clear we’re not going to be lowering our food import standards.’
Liz Truss said wine from Australia would be cheaper to buy in the UK if a trade deal is reached
The UK is also coming under pressure from the US to allow the import of hormone-treated beef and chlorinated chicken as the price for a trade deal
Asked whether that meant the import of hormone-treated beef would not be allowed, she told Times Radio: ‘Correct. It’s banned at the moment in terms of our import standards.’
However, Miss Truss did say that wine from Australia would be cheaper to buy in the UK if a trade deal is reached.
Australian trade minister Dan Tehan left London last week following two days of talks with Miss Truss. Both sides believe an in-principle trade deal can be reached by June.
But there are worries about the potential effects on British farmers, with some concerned they will not be able to sell their meat as cheaply as produce that is imported from Australia.
The UK is also coming under pressure from the US to allow the import of hormone-treated beef and chlorinated chicken as the price for a trade deal.
In an interview with the BBC’s Andrew Marr, Miss Truss reiterated that the UK would not lower its food standards in order to reach a deal with Australia.
‘I can absolutely promise that we’re not going to lower our excellent food standards in order to do this trade deal,’ she said.
‘But what we will do through this trade deal is make sure we get fantastic British products into Australia at a much cheaper price – so whether it’s whisky or cars – which will help drive jobs and growth across Britain.
‘And it also gives us access to fantastic fast-growing part of the world, the Asia-Pacific.
‘We’re expecting 66 per cent of the world’s middle classes to be there by 2030.
‘So this is all about creating jobs and growth for the future and hitching Britain to the fastest growing parts of the world.’
Asked about the price of wine on Sky’s Ridge on Sunday, she said: ‘Well, that is one of the many benefits that there would be from the Australia trade deal.’
Uncertainty was cast over the discussions last week when allies of Miss Truss described her Australian counterpart as ‘inexperienced’ ahead of his visit to Britain. But Miss Truss said that the two had ‘a very positive relationship’.
She said: ‘We are now within a glimpse of striking our first post-Brexit trade deal which is negotiated from scratch and I’m looking forward to agreeing that in principle over the next few weeks. ‘And this will bring huge benefits to the British economy, whether it’s the whisky industry, the car industry, the financial services industry and it also opens up huge opportunities for us in the Asia-Pacific market, one of the fastest-growing parts of the world.’