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Free Trade Agreement: Australia

Volume 689: debated on Thursday 25 February 2021

The UK and Australia held the third round of negotiations for a free trade agreement between 23 November and 4 December. Discussions reached an early milestone of exchanging initial tariff offers, showing the momentum behind the negotiations. The fourth round of negotiations began this week and is live as we speak.

The Trade and Agriculture Commission report will be out next week. How does the Department see incorporating that in the deal with the Australians to make sure that we can maintain these high standards of imported food that meet our standards when we are doing a deal with Australia?

I thank the Chairman of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee for that question. I know he takes a very keen interest and we also await with equal interest the publication of the report next week. It would not be proper to prejudge what may or may not be in the report, but it is clear that we are doing everything possible to support our food and drink exports. Returning to the question of Australia, we actually have a food and drink surplus with Australia. We are looking to get more market access and to promote more agricultural exports to Australia, which I know will come with great welcome from him and the EFRA Committee.