Tory trade deals ‘sold farmers down the river,’ says Welsh farming union boss
Farmers have been “sold down the river” by Tory trade deals with Australia and New Zealand, a Welsh farming union boss has said.
Speaking yesterday in Parliament, former Secretary of State for Agriculture George Eustice told MPs that the UK “gave away far too much for far too little in return,” despite starting negotiations “with the strongest possible hand”.
He also said that negotiators were undermined by former Minister Liz Truss demanding that a deal with Australia be struck before the G7 summit in Cornwall in June 2021.
Farmers’ Union of Wales president Glyn Roberts said the deals gave away massive access to UK food markets in exchange for negligible benefits.
“Mr Eustice has confirmed everything the FUW has stated throughout. The positive spin given by Boris Johnson, Ministers and MPs about these deals at the time was complete nonsense.
“We have always known and made clear that these deals sell UK farmers and food security down the river in exchange for virtually nothing.
“The UK gave away massive and ultimately complete access to our markets for beef, lamb and dairy products in exchange for minute benefits, all in order to meet deadlines for politically expedient press releases.”
Mr Eustice also told Parliament that Australian negotiators had been allowed to “shape the terms” of the agreement, and called for the Department for International Trade’s head to be sacked, saying now was “a good opportunity to move on and get a different type of negotiator in place – somebody who understands British interests better”.
Mr Roberts said the deals are recognised around the globe as being incredibly weak and had made a laughing stock of the UK on the international stage.
“MPs who continue to defend these deals no longer have a leg to stand on as the truth has been given to Parliament ‘from the horse’s mouth’,” he said.
Mr Roberts said the new Westminster regime should now ensure that any future deals with other countries and trading blocs take a far more robust approach that protects farmers and food security – not undermining them.
“Our vulnerability to the further undermining our food security has been made clear by Russia’s war on Ukraine, and the UK needs to reset its approach to international trade, as called for in the FUW’s July 2022 five-point plan,” he added.
‘Industry at risk’
The Liberal Democrats have reiterated concerns over the negative impacts the UK’s trade deals with Australia and New Zealand could have on the Welsh agricultural industry.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson for International Trade and Wales, Sarah Green MP said: “This Conservative Government has failed Wales by neglecting to carry out detailed assessments of how these trade deals will impact them, as well as other regions and nations in the UK.
“In Wales, a world-class lamb industry is now at risk, as are the communities relying on it.
“The Liberal Democrats are calling on this Conservative government to fully assess the impact new trade agreements will have on the different parts of the UK.
“They must also set out an overarching trade strategy that guarantees a stringent assessment of any trade deal against minimum standards on human rights, environmental standards, labour standards and safety standards.
“This Conservative party cannot continue selling out entire industries for marginal economic gain while silencing the voices of those affected by denying proper parliamentary scrutiny.”
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The confirmation from the former Minister for farming destruction is quite satisfying as it stabs his own morally bankrupt mates in the front and back but we already knew after his team of sell outs left the room, the Aussies were laughing and popping the champagne corks. Kill our farming industry just to get any old deal to prove Brexit was right. Is there any lower depth left to sink to?
Where ever you travel throughout the country before any election all you see on farmers land bordering roads are signs telling you to vote for the local Tory candidate, is the NFU out of touch with their membership or have they suddenly realised that they cannot trust anything a Tory says as i may be wrong but didn’t the NFU recommend brexit so their members could benefit from these kind of trade deals without knowing what deals would be made, does the old saying about buying a pig in a poke ring any bells
But these comments are from the Farmers Union of Wales, not the NFU. FUW was always opposed to Brexit which is why the vote went so differently in the Welsh speaking farming areas!
I agree, I regularly drive through Powys and during election campaigns roadside farms are plastered in Conservative Party placards.
Powys is also densely populated by settlers from beyond Y Clawdd. They spend far more time trying to influence what’s left of the native farming community than any of our independence “activists”. Moral of the story – get out there and talk to people. Hammer home the message about betrayal and false promises.
The NFU knew that brexit would be a disaster for uk farmers, they just decided not to pass that information onto their members,
What’s the matter with those in NFU ?
They are suppose to be a farmer’s union, not stabbing farmers in the back.
Dear Farmers, This was the “Brexit” that so many of you spent so long championing, the same “Brexit” that many of you took the time to put huge billboards and displays on your own land extolling the virtues of… Why are you so upset? Surely you all knew that this would happen? Surely, like all of the other “Brexit voters”, you knew what you were voting for? If not, what was the reason you voted for it? You got what you wanted. You helped have this fall on all of us, you wanted it like all of the other people… Read more »
You have a hell of a way of winning people over. Try packaging it and sell it on to others.
sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut and let people think your stupid, rather than opening it and removing all doubt.
I dont see the problem for farmers, they voted for Brexit, they won,and got trade deals outside of the EU that they wanted and were promised. All they have to do now to stay afloat, is match what Aus and NZ are offering and they will be fine. You won, stop moaning, you knew what you were voting for, didnt you?
Well if farmers are unhappy, they could try lobbying a certain Mr Starmer to make a commitment to cancel the bad deals if/when he wins the next election. I am sure that the party he leads will provide lots of posters that don’t say ‘Vote Tory’ to put up in their fields. Since Mr Starmer does not listen to his party Membership it is possible that he might actually listen to a farming pressure group.
As Ann writes above, FUW was always vehemently opposed to Brexit but if they think this is bad then just wait until the idiot Tories do the deal with the USA.
If you think that it’s only the farmers will suffer when (not if ) the Tory’s do a deal with the USA you can bet that part of that deal will end contractual agreements with USA pharmaceutical companies for our NHS which will see the cost of drugs increase by a phenomenal amount which will put the NHS under extreme pressure. But that’s what the Tory’s want they want out nhs to fail
My suspicion is that they may succeed in crahing the NHS completely though under funding and then succeed in selling it off before they get a US trade deal. Remember Hunt published a pamphlet about how privatising he NHS would be a ‘wonderful idea’ while he was busy being the worst health secreatary for many a year.
Sunny uplands coming home to roost!
I wonder how the Brexit and Tory voting farmers feel now. Pretty stupid I’ll bet.
I just feel sorry for the more sensible farmers dragged into this nonsense.
They knew what they were voting for.
They need to get over it.
There’s an article on the West Country Voices website – Myth that farmers voted for brexit – which looks at the issue in a UK context.
One of the interesting conclusions is that although farmers are part of the rural population, generally tory voting and on average over 50 years old they were less likely to have voted Leave than any of those groups did.