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Australia and New Zealand FTAs: UK Food Sector

Volume 718: debated on Thursday 21 July 2022

14. What assessment she has made with Cabinet colleagues of the impact of the Australia and New Zealand free trade agreements on employment in the UK food sector. (901236)

The trade deals with Australia and New Zealand are expected to increase bilateral trade by 53% and 59% respectively in the long run.

It has been revealed that when the Foreign Secretary was Secretary of State for International Trade she ignored advice from her officials that the Australia and New Zealand trade agreements would shrink our food and farming sectors. I think we can all agree that that is a disgrace—[Interruption.] I am glad someone got the joke. The food and farming sectors are already hurting due to severe labour shortages and rising costs, and these rushed trade agreements could be the final nail in the coffin. If the Foreign Secretary cannot be trusted to do the right thing for farmers, can she be trusted to run the country?

If the hon. Lady would like to write with the specific details, I am sure the Department will be able to provide a full answer to her assertions. The economic modelling was based on full employment, which does not reflect the change in employment between sectors and, critically, does not estimate jobs lost or gained in any sector. However, if she writes with the specific details, I am sure we can address that for her.