Commenting on the statement from the Department for Business and Trade that the UK Government expects the UK-Australia and UK-New Zealand free trade agreements to enter into force on 31 May 2023, Gordon MP Richard Thomson has highlighted comments from the former Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who said the Australian trade deal “gave away far too much for far too little in return” and was “not actually a very good deal”.
The comments were made by George Eustice who led DEFRA between 2020 and 2022.
Richard Thomson MP said:
“As Secretary of State at the time of the deal, George Eustice simply confirmed what everyone already knew. It is particularly disappointing that Cabinet Ministers whom one would have thought had an interest in securing a good deal for our exporters, producers and farmers chose to remain silent publicly until after the deal was done and they were out of office.
“In their rush to talk up securing these trade deals, UK Government Ministers and Conservative members of the House of Lords even went so far as to speak out during a debate on international trade in favour of New Zealand lamb over home-produced lamb.
“These are the same people that the Conservative Government decided should be representing and speaking up for our farming industry and exporters. It really is a case of ‘with friends like these . . .’.
“Unfortunately, in terms of these trade deals, the damage has been done and exporters, producers and farmers will have to live with the consequences of that. Unless of course we take control of our own trade negotiations like any other normal country through independence.”