The trade deal, which will shortly see the opening up of the UK market for imports of Australian agri-foods including beef, lamb, and dairy products has been a significant cause for concern for NFU Cymru since details of the deal began to emerge last year.
Disproportionate impacts on Welsh agriculture
With Wales particularly reliant on livestock agriculture, there are likely to be disproportionate impacts on Welsh agriculture as compared to UK agriculture more generally, and that was why the union took the opportunity to call once again for the publication, by the UK Government, of a Wales specific impact assessment in relation to the Australia trade deal.
Huw took the opportunity to re-iterate the union’s call for Welsh Government to review the direction of travel with future support policy, now that it was abundantly clear that the UK Government was pursuing an agenda of trade liberalisation with some of the largest agri-food producers in the world.
Setting a precedent
As part of his oral evidence, Huw also pointed to the precedent setting nature of the trade deal with Australia, with New Zealand poised to secure similar generous access to the UK market and other nations also looking to be able to send their produce to the UK.
In his contribution, Huw also emphasised the need for the UK Government to learn from the Australia trade deal, including in relation to matters such as:
- Productions standards
- Better appreciating the likely cumulative impacts of successive trade deals
- The involvement of key stakeholders in mandate setting when it comes to trade negotiations.