Scottish Farmers Raise Concerns over UK-Australia Trade Deal

18 октября 2021, 16:09

The UK has signed a trade deal with Australia that will benefit exporters in numerous British industries. However, Scottish farmers have raised concerns about the potential negative impacts of the agreement, with some fearing that Scottish farmers, crofters, and the wider food and drink industry (excluding the Whiskey sector, which stands to benefit greatly from the deal) will suffer as a result. Government officials are downplaying concerns, but Scottish ministers are calling for a full impact assessment of the deal.

Scotch Whiskey to Benefit, Other Sectors Under Threat

In June, the UK struck a new free trade agreement with Australia, one that would make British products such as cars, biscuits, ceramics, and Scotch whisky cheaper to sell to their trade partners. The deal would boost serval industries in the UK as demand for British products in Australia increases.

Not all British industries are content with the trade deal, however. The National Farmer’s Union (NFU) Scotland is concerned that imports of Australian products would will be unrestricted for the next 15 years. According to the union, this would allow Australian companies to gain a strong foothold in the UK’s food and drinks markets, potentially harming British companies.

«An FTA with Australia, and the way it has been agreed without proper industry consultation or scrutiny, sets a dangerous precedent for other free trade agreements, including those with other major farming and food producing nations such as New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and the United States,» NFU’s president Martin Kennedy said.

In response to the NFU’s concerns, the UK government has assured them that the removal of tariffs would be a boon to Scotland’s distilleries. Scottish Secretary Alister Jack is also confident that the agreement will benefit Scotland and the UK as a whole, predicting that it will benefit Scotland’s financial services, manufacturing, and pharmaceutical sectors. Finally, Jack emphasizes that measures will be put in place to protect the UK agricultural industry so that it can maintain its quality standards, as well as to protect Scottish farmers and help them access all the international opportunities made possible by this agreement.

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