Sinn Féin MLA Declan McAleer has expressed serious concern at the implications for local producers of the trade deal reached between Australia and the British government.
Declan McAleer said:
“The trade deal between Britain and Australia poses a serious threat to our local farmers and agrifood businesses. 50% of all food produced in the north is exported to the British market in an industry which is worth over £3 billion every year, underpinning 100,000 jobs.
“While the EU protocol will prevent Australian beef and sheep meat from entering our local market, the introduction of tariff free trade with Australia over the next 15 years will displace our share of the British market.
“Our farmers will not be able to compete with such a huge food producing continent and the difference is also reflected in prices.
“The Australian deal also highlights the real reason why the British government refused to legislate for minimum food standards in their Agriculture Bill and are still refusing to enter into a veterinary agreement with the EU.
“Worryingly, the Australian trade deal will likely be the starting point for other major food producing nations such as the USA and the Mercosur countries in their negotiations with the British government.
“This is the outworking of a Brexit decision which was rejected by the majority of people here, but supported by the DUP and fellow Brexiteers and the British government’s decision to pursue a trade deal at any cost will have serious consequences for the local agrifood industry.”