The Farmers’ Union of Wales has highlighted the need for Members of Parliament to do all they can to fully scrutinise and have a say on an UK-Australia trade deal, after Boris Johnson and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday agreed the broad terms of a deal.
“We have grave concerns that we could end up with a deal that’s catastrophic for animal welfare, the environment, our family farms and our food security - and that it will be set in stone,” said FUW President Glyn Roberts.
Mr Roberts said that in the past few days Boris Johnson had come under significant pressure from the world’s most powerful leaders because he had ignored all the warnings about the consequences of a deal he struck with the EU - the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“A few months after the Protocol came in he has decided it’s bad and wants to ignore it, but the other G7 members have been blunt in telling him that international treaties are binding and the rule of international law must be respected.”
Mr Roberts said MPs must therefore take extremely seriously the warnings about the implications of a trade deal that sets the UK on a permanent legally binding course to open us up to food produced to lower environmental and welfare standards and undermines our food security and the viability of our family farms.
“MPs must do all they can to prevent a culture of ‘ignore the warnings, get it done and deal with the consequences later’ predominating when it comes to this and other trade deals,” said Mr Roberts.
Over the last month the FUW has written to the Prime Minister and met with Government Ministers and MPs from across Wales, highlighting the major differences between UK and Australian standards and the economic damage cheap food imports could cause to our family farms.
The union has also written to the Welsh Affairs Committee asking it to conduct an inquiry into the implications of a bad deal for Wales’ farmers, food standards and rural communities.
“We have made it clear during our meetings and in correspondence with all Welsh MPs that we are not opposed to a UK-Australia deal, but we are opposed to a damaging deal that paves the way for further deals that add to that damage,” he added.