‘Get back to our real friends!’ Truss should hand Australia ‘zero tariff’ trade deal

Australian deal may cause countryside ‘car crash’ says Batters

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The Government is at loggerheads over whether to hand Australian farmers the bumper access to UK markets. If this bumper deal is agreed upon, there are fears some UK farmers could be heavily impacted by the sudden flow of zero-tariff products. But ahead of the crunch G7 summit next month, there is mounting pressure on the UK to rubberstamp the deal, which is regarded as a landmark agreement for Brexit Britain following the full departure from the European Union.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Brexit minister Lord Frost are throwing their support behind a zero-tariff deal, according to the Financial Times.

In contrast, Environment Secretary George Eustice and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove are said to be against it after warning of a potential backlash from signing the agreement.

One person involved in talks said: “There is an absolutely ferocious row going on in Whitehall over Australia deal with real pressure to get it resolved by the end of this week.

“Gove and Eustice are on one side, Truss and Lord Frost on the other.”

But thousands of people in the latest Express.co.uk have backed Brexit Britain to sign the zero-tariff trade deal with Australia.

The latest poll, which ran from 10.40am on Tuesday May 19 until 7am on Wednesday May 20, asked: “Should UK hand Australia a ‘zero tariff’ deal?”

Three quarters (75 percent or 3,349 readers) agreed. Nearly a fifth (19 percent or 866 readers) are against this move, while the remaining six percent (248 readers) are undecided.

Hundreds of Express.co.uk readers reacted to the possibility of the UK handing Australia a zero tariff deal.

One wrote: “Yes Australia and New Zealand are probably closer to us culturally than any other nations.

“We need to get back to our real friends and allies.”

A second person said: “Before we were forced to give up our trade deals with Australia, NZ, Canada to join the dratted Common Market, we always had a free trade deal. Why not now?

“As long as beef and lamb are labelled of country of origin, you you don’t have to buy it.

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“Back British Farmers to buy the best British food.”

Another reader commented: “Yes Australia and New Zealand are probably closer to us culturally than any other nations.

“We need to get back to our real friends and allies.”

A fourth person wrote: “We fight together. We die together.

“Australians are not foreigners. Give them what they want. It should be a single market UK and Australia.”

Another reader added: “Australia did us well before and will again – don’t turn your backs on your friends – again.”

International Trade Secretary Ms Truss has made signing a deal with Australia, New Zealand and the US one of her key priorities this year, and has claimed it would be a failure to not sign an agreement with a key ally of the UK.

But fears are intensifying that as well as undercutting British farmers, zero-tariff access for their Australian counterparts could fuel desires to break away from the UK.

One insider added: “Basically we’re talking about signing off the slow death of British farming so Liz Truss can score a quick political point.”

But Sam Lowe, the trade specialist at the Centre for European Reform think-tank, said: “If these deals with Australia and New Zealand don’t get done because of domestic opposition, that pretty much says the UK is not doing anything with global Britain.

“Because if we can’t do these, well, in truth, everything gets more difficult from here.”

A statement from the International Department for Trade said: “Any deal we sign with Australia will include protections for the agriculture industry and will not undercut UK farmers or compromise our high standards.”

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