UK-Australian trade deal is “unlikely to make a noticeable difference at supermarket checkouts”, British MPs have concluded in a report published Wednesday (6).
According to the cross-party International Trade Committee, the UK is overselling its free trade deal with Australia in the wake of Brexit. The report has warned the government “against overselling the benefits of trade deals” in general after analysing the Australia agreement finalised in December 2021.
The committee noted that “lifting almost all tariffs on agricultural imports is a significant change, and potentially sets an important precedent for deals with major food-exporting nations”.
However, MPs expressed “disappointment that tariff-free Australian food will not be required to meet core UK food production standards, for example regarding pesticide use”.
“The government must level with the public – this trade deal will not have the transformative effects ministers would like to claim,” Yahoo quoted committee chair Angus Brendan MacNeil’s statement.
The accord was the first free trade deal to be signed since Britain’s formal departure from the European Union at the start of 2021.
Britain has said the deal is expected to unlock annual bilateral trade worth £10.4 billion.
As the first wholly new trade deal since Brexit, this agreement sets a precedent for the future,” added MacNeil, an MP for the Scottish National Party seeking Scotland’s independence from the UK.
“It is vital that the government learns from this experience and negotiates harder next time around to maximise gains and minimise losses for all economic sectors and parts of the UK.”