Potential for Australian “outcry” over talk of free trade with UK

Australian pig farmers are keeping a “very close eye” on how any post-Brexit negotiation of UK/Australia trade deals are approached, according to industry sources.

Commenting in the wake of last week’s widely reported move towards the development of free-trade routes between the UK and Australia, industry sources in the country told Pig World that the whole issue would be watched with great care and some anxiety by Australian producers.

The prospect of free trade with the UK comes on top of ongoing Australian concerns over the negotiation of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the trade agreement which covers 12 Pacific Rim countries and was the focus of seven years debate before a final position was reached in February this year. Even so, TPP still has to be officially ratified by the countries concerned.

“There was considerable anxiety across the pig industry when it was suggested that current restrictions on fresh pork would be relaxed as part of the TPP deal,” said an industry source, adding that the prospect of the UK joining the free trade family would raise similar concerns.

“While we haven’t yet turned our minds to the pros and cons of such a deal, certainly not in any detail, if there is any suggestion that fresh meat will be imported I think there will be an outcry.”

Figures released last week showed UK fresh and frozen pork exports to Australia having reached 1000 tonnes in the first half of 2016, massively up on the 24 tonnes exported in the first half of 2015.

See previous report

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