MPs say Boris Johnson exaggerates benefits of post-Brexit trade deals

According to MPs’ critical report, the prime minister urged the prime minister not to exaggerate the benefits of such agreements. .

The Committee on International Trade said on Wednesday that while tariff cuts on processed food and beverages may benefit consumers, they are unlikely to have a “noticeable impact” on supermarket checkouts.

Meanwhile, the deal will allow food to be sold duty-free from Australia to the UK without meeting basic requirements. Great Britain food production standards related, for example, to the use of pesticides.

Johnson hailed the agreement with Canberra in June 2021 as the UK’s first major trade deal since Brexit, with greater freedom for Britons to work and travel in Australia, and various tariffs reduced on a number of items.

But the trade committee called for a full assessment of the winners and losers across all sectors of the UK economy and countries from trade deals, stressing British farmers’ concerns about lack of protection in some agreements.

The report said the removal of nearly all tariffs on agricultural imports was a significant change that could set an “important precedent” for deals with other leading food exporting countries. “While the government has sought to mitigate the negative impact on the UK agricultural sector through phased mechanisms, the committee notes farmers’ concerns that these protections are not enough,” he added.

British agricultural producers have complained that the deal expands access to food produced in ways that would be illegal in the UK, such as through the use of pesticides banned by the London government.

The committee said it was disappointed that the government had ignored recommendations from its food advisor Henry Dimbleby and the independent Trade and Agriculture Commission that agri-food liberalization should be conditional on other countries meeting the UK’s core food production standards.

The issue of farmers being subjected to unfair competition from abroad was raised in by-elections in Tiverton, Honiton and North Shropshire, where the Conservatives lost to the Liberal Democrats.

MPs also noted that the government had failed to protect British food and drink brands such as Melton Mowbray pork pies, Welsh lamb and Scotch whisky.

“As a result, it remains legal in Australia to impersonate these products. With such large concessions given to Australian agricultural imports, MPs argue that this protection of UK exports should have been an easy win.

The government’s own impact assessment shows an increase in gross domestic product of just 0.08% from the deal. On the contrary, the blow to GDP from leaving the EU is estimated by officials at 4%. Office of Budgetary Responsibility.

Angus McNeil, MP for the Scottish National Party and chairman of the Trade Committee, urged the government to “bring to the public” that the deal would not have the transformative effects that ministers would like to announce.

“We also found several examples where the government’s muddled negotiations led to significant concessions to the Australians without getting all the possible benefits in return,” McNeil said.

“It is vital that the government learn from this experience and engage in tougher negotiations next time to maximize gains and minimize losses for all sectors of the economy and parts of the UK,” he added.

Sarah Williams of Greener UK, a coalition of environmental charities, said the report “shows the inadequacy of the government’s current approach to trade”, adding: “The UK is rushing to make deals with huge environmental and health implications, but no clear strategy.” or adequate conditions for verification.”

The Department for International Trade said the trade deal with Australia would “open up an additional £10.4bn of bilateral trade” and “support economic growth in all parts of the UK”.

“We have always said that we will not compromise with the high standards of the UK in the field of environmental protection, animal welfare or food safety,” the statement said.