Liz Truss shuts down host over UK-Australia trade deal
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The International Trade Secretary has been leading talks over a post-Brexit agreement with Australia and is hoping to conclude discussions next month. The UK is seeking to strike 15-year transition to a zero-tariff, zero-quota trade pact with the Commonwealth nation.
But, the terms of the deal has divided ministers and UK farmers fear being undercut by cheaper imports of beef and lamb.
The Westminster Government has since granted further assurances to British agriculture industries.
The UK economy is estimated to be twice the size of Australia’s and experts have argued this should be used to Britain’s advantage.
A subsequent poll of more than 7,000 Express.co.uk readers has found the majority of people believe the UK should take a firmer stance in the talks with Australia.
The survey took place on May 24 from 8.09am to 4pm on May 25 and asked 7,460 online readers, should Liz Truss get tough in talks with Australia and use the UK’s leverage as an economy twice the size?
The results found 67 percent (4,990) think the UK should get tougher with Canberra and voted “yes”.
Just 27 percent (2,016) thought the UK should not change its tactics and voted “no”.
Meanwhile, the remaining six percent (454) remained unsure and voted “don’t know”.
A number of Express.co.uk let their opinions known in the comments section of the poll story.
One reader said: “We have already been too soft and given away too much.”
A second added: “Just get on with it! We can’t announce a strategy of free trade deals around the world, and then not sign one with Australia.”
A third said: “Our farmers need to be open to competition, the meat price level in our country have taken it out of reach of poorer families unless for special occasions.”
Ms Truss has said British farmers have nothing to fear and an “awful lot to gain” from a free trade deal with Australia.
She added a deal was a first step towards joining the wider Trans-Pacific Partnership, unlocking the expanding Asia markets for British producers.
Ms Truss said: “British farmers have absolutely nothing to fear from this deal at all. In fact, we’ve got an awful lot to gain, particularly from the wider opportunities in the Asia Pacific area.
“That’s where demand for beef and lamb is expected to rise significantly over the next 10 years and we are gaining more access to those markets. This is where the big opportunities lie.
“I’m absolutely confident the deal we strike will enable our farmers to compete successfully.”
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Negotiations with Australia began last June and according to the Department for International Trade, UK exports to Australia could increase by up to £900million,
UK businesses traded £18.1billion worth of goods and services with Australia in 2019
Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the prospect of a deal with Australia as he visited the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in Portsmouth on Monday.
He said: “We are certainly looking at doing free trade deals with countries around the world and I’m here on this incredible aircraft carrier, which is really a symbol of the way we want to do things.
“We see a global future for this country.
“I do think that free trade deals present a fantastic opportunity for our farmers, for businesses of all kinds and for manufacturers.
“I think it is vital that as a great historic free-trading nation that grew to prosperity thanks to free trade and thanks indeed to the Royal Navy, that we see these new openings not as threats but as opportunities.”
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