Brexit humiliation: Adonis crushed by Australia deal after he laughed off UK ‘capacity’

Australia trade deal: Burley quizzes Gove on impact on farming

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Australia and the UK have agreed on the broad terms of a trade deal. It comes following Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s visit to the UK for the G7 summit, where world leaders from outside the group were welcomed to partake in discussions. The deal is the first to be negotiated from scratch since the UK left the EU.

Widely seen as a breakthrough, it could be an important step towards the UK joining a wider Asia Pacific free-trade agreement.

Many of the agreements secured by the UK around the world since Brexit were rollovers of ones already in existence.

This fact led many, like the ardent Remainer Lord Andrew Adonis, to argue that the UK had no chance of striking fresh deals given that it had not done so for decades.

In 2017, the Labour Party peer wrote a column in The Guardian outlining why he thought “Britain couldn’t leave the single market if it tried”.

Opening the piece, Lord Adonis wrote: “The UK has not negotiated an international trade deal in decades – we simply lack the capacity to negotiate bespoke deals.

“It’s folly to even try.”

Later on, he added: “So where are the trade negotiators who are going to achieve this near-impossible task?

“Britain has not negotiated a trade treaty since 1973, and virtually none of the small band of Brits working for the EU ‘do’ trade.

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“The new Department for International Trade (DIT) is therefore having to build up its negotiating capacity from scratch.”

The new Australia deal will likely come as a blow to the veteran politician.

It is expected to give UK and Australian food producers and other businesses easier access to each other’s markets.

The Government says membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) could provide British farmers with huge opportunities.

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Earlier this month, Britain was given the green light to start talks on joining the group, which includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

In a nod to the burgeoning trade deal, according to the BBC, Mr Johnson and Mr Morrison enjoyed a dinner of Welsh lamb and Scottish smoked salmon with Australian wine at Downing Street.

While the deal is a positive step, many have expressed concerns over what it means for the UK’s future food standards.

Farmers have previously raised concerns about the potential of a zero-tariff and zero-quota trade deal which could undercut them by cheap imports.

Agricultural workers in Australia are permitted to use some hormone growth promoters, pesticides, and feed additives that are banned in the UK.

And, according to the National Farmers Union (NFU), Australian farmers are able to produce beef at a lower cost of production, and could undercut farmers in the UK.

Scotland has also raised worries about the farming industry being overwhelmed if the market was flooded with lower standard goods.

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