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Free Trade Agreement: Australia

Volume 696: debated on Thursday 10 June 2021

Following two days of intensive discussions during the visit of Dan Tehan, the Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, on 22 and 23 April, both sides reached consensus on most elements of a comprehensive free trade agreement. The UK and Australia are now working to agree the outstanding elements, with the aim of reaching agreement in principle this month.

I am speaking from Lincolnshire, the bread basket of England. It is a prosperous county, but in the area of world free trade before the second world war, we could walk on derelict farms from Lincoln to Grimsby. Can the Minister assure me that this free trade deal with Australia, which I welcome, will ensure a bright future for our farmers, and that there will be no relaxation of our high-quality standards and no imports of mass-produced wheat that could undercut our farmers?

My right hon. Friend is quite right to point to the brilliance of the Lincolnshire farmers and their industry in helping both to feed this country and to export. We have been absolutely clear that, when it comes to trade deals, there will be no compromise on our standards, food safety, animal welfare and the environment. I agree that there is an opportunity here for Lincolnshire to be exporting more. We have secured more access last week in the Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein deal. We are looking forward to joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has big opportunities for UK agriculture and future free trade agreements going forward.