Speaking in Parliament after International Trade Secretary Liz Truss provided details of the deal struck this week, Thornberry accused the Conservative government of undermining British standards and breaking promises it made to the people. After recalling that Truss said last October he would never sign an agreement that would harm British producers or contravene the country’s regulations, the opposition lawmaker listed dozens of production practices that are permitted in Australia, but banned in the UK.
He noted, for example, that Australians use antibiotics to boost animal growth, cage laying hens and chop their beaks with hot knives, brand livestock with hot irons, and transport up to 48 people in trucks without providing water, food or comfort.
He stressed that “under the trade agreement signed by the Secretary of International Trade, all meat produced through these practices will reach our country duty-free, undermine our standards, affect British producers and break the promise we made to the population.”
Boris Johnson’s Conservative government said this week that a post-Brexit trade agreement with Australia would eliminate import duties and tariffs on British cars, Scotch whiskey and other products.
Australian wine, meat and swimwear have equal benefits when arriving in the European country.
In an effort to reassure domestic producers who fear losses from final entry for cheaper Australian products, the British government said there would be a 15-year limit on duty-free imports.
Thornberry, who acts as a counterpart to Truss in the so-called Shadow Cabinet, said the agreement would allow Australians to export 60 times more meat to the UK next year than they shipped in 2020, without having to pay a penny for the 1 fee.
The opposition Scottish National Party, for its part, also demanded that the FTA be referred to Parliament for ratification.
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