Australia attacks post-Brexit plan to share quotas for cheap food imports
The UK and European Union's plans to share out quotas for cheap food imports from countries around the world after Brexit have come under fire from Australia.
The UK and EU's plans to share out quotas for cheap food imports from countries around the world after Brexit have come under fire from Australia.
Restrictions on how many products can be imported into the EU on favourable rates are set across the bloc and concerns have been raised internationally that exporters could take a financial hit when the UK quits.
The Government has agreed with Brussels to divide up the numbers of goods that can be brought in on low or zero tariffs based roughly on current rates.
It would mean products imported into the UK in higher numbers than other parts of the bloc would continue to be traded in similar numbers.
You may also want to watch:
But Australian trade minister Steven Ciobo said the move would impose unacceptable restrictions on nations exporting to the bloc.
"The point is that you have a choice about where you place your quota at the moment," he told the BBC.
- 1 The Prime Minister is out of his league
- 2 Can King Louis turn back the clock?
- 3 Party politics will not save us from the Tories - we need drastic action
- 4 Empty shelves are partly down to Brexit - but Leavers won't admit it
- 5 The cannabis conundrum
- 6 Priti Patel - the poster girl for our poisonous politics
- 7 Why Germany's Greens failed to rise on floods
- 8 Rabbits defeat French army
- 9 Cost of Brexit is already 38 times more than the money set aside for levelling up
- 10 Boris Johnson: The sado-populist prime minister
"Therefore, given that you could put it in the UK or you could put it into continental Europe, why would we accept a proposition that would see a decline in the quota available because of the Brexit decision?"
Other countries with concerns about the quota-splitting plan include the United States, New Zealand, Brazil and Canada.
A Department for International Trade spokesman said: "As we leave the EU, we will need to update the terms of our World Trade Organisation membership to reflect an independent UK trade policy.
"We want to ensure a smooth transition which minimises the disruption to our trading relationships with other WTO members and tariff rate quotas are one of the issues that we are discussing with them.
"This is largely a technical process and we will continue to engage WTO members including Australia in an open, inclusive and transparent way."
Shadow international trade secretary Barry Gardiner said Liam Fox had been warned about the danger of a dispute over the quota share deal.
He also cautioned against accepting higher amounts of low-tariff imports of products such as lamb because of the impact it would have on UK farmers and the countryside.
"We warned the Secretary of State Liam Fox about this a number of months ago and he said this was going to be very easy because it was not going to make any changes in the current total quota that the EU has," he told Today.
Mr Gardiner said the countries raising objections about the quota-sharing plan "have a point" and "this is something that is going to be a tougher negotiation than the Government ever thought".
He added: "We must not look at this simply as a matter of economics. It's not simply about, 'are we going to get cheaper lamb in the UK if we import a lot more from New Zealand?' - the real issue here is what these things do to our wider economy and the landscape of this country.
"As you affect farming, so you affect the way our country looks, that means you also affect the tourist trade."
Liberal Democrat trade spokesman Tom Brake said: "Yet again the Government has been warned that isolating ourselves from the EU is not the straightforward panacea dreamt of by Brextremists.
"There are real concerns that the UK is going to struggle to strike any deals that come remotely close to the benefits we enjoy as a member of the EU. This is another reason why the British public must have a vote on the terms of this messy divorce, including the option of an exit from Brexit."
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.