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Trade deal with New Zealand: British farmers fear cheap meat


After Brexit, the British government is relying on trade agreements. But an agreement with New Zealand puts farmers on the barricades. They fear the import of cheap lamb.

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Sheep on a farm in Alston, UK

Photo: Owen Humphreys / dpa

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had promised farmers a “better deal” after leaving the EU.

But the government's trade policy is causing trouble among farmers.

They even accuse it of undermining domestic food security.

Specifically, it is about the announced free trade agreement between Great Britain and New Zealand.

The agreement shows the willingness of the British government to sacrifice agriculture and food security in the country, criticized the Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW). "The government's own figures show that the economic benefits for the UK from this deal are microscopic," said FUW President Glyn Roberts.

"The winner of this deal will clearly be New Zealand, which will allow it to increase food exports to the UK, which is a major threat to Welsh and British farmers and our food security," said Roberts.

He pointed out that New Zealand, with a good five million people, has fewer inhabitants than Scotland (5.4 million).

Farmers warn that cheaper New Zealand lamb could displace local farmers.

Above all, imports to Great Britain are expected to increase

Their concerns are even supported by government reports.

An analysis by the British government had shown that the agreement offered little or no benefit for its own economy.

Trade with the former colony accounts for 0.2 percent of British foreign trade.

According to the agreement, duty-free lamb imports from New Zealand are likely to increase by 30 percent in the first year.

After five years, the increase is already 44 percent, followed by further increases until after 15 years there are no more tariffs, criticized the FUW.

There are also huge leaps in terms of beef, butter and cheese.

“This deal, in conjunction with the trade deal with Australia announced in June, leaves little doubt that the UK government is deliberately or negligently undermining UK agriculture, food production and food security,” Roberts said.

This impression is reinforced by the fact that British farmers are receiving less support, but have to suffer more bureaucracy and regulation.

The British umbrella organization National Farmers' Union also criticized the agreement.

With the deal, the UK opens the doors to significant additional quantities of imported food for which manufacturing standards remain unclear.

There is almost no consideration for British farmers.

Johnson sees the deal as strategic

For Great Britain, the agreement with New Zealand is above all a strategic decision.

The government in London hopes to be included in the CPTPP trade agreement of the Pacific countries in order to ultimately gain access to the US market.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced that the country could sign significantly better trade deals after Brexit.

mmq / dpa

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-10-22

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