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Jane Dodds: Conservatives betray Welsh farmers in Australia/New Zealand trade deal

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservatives of allowing themselves to be “trampled over” during trade negotiations with New Zealand and Australia when it comes to agricultural interests.

The Welsh Lib Dems have argued that despite Australia having an economy less than 40 per cent the size of the UK’s and New Zealand’s economy being 30 times smaller than the UK, the Conservatives have capitulated to their demands for agricultural access to the UK market, placing Welsh farmers at significant risk.

The Farmer’s Union for Wales (FUW) reported that the increase in New Zealand’s import quota for sheep meat in year one of new trade agreements signed by the UK and EU is more than 40 times higher per head of population in the UK compared with the European Union. The Union has stated this “demonstrates a failure of the UK Government to protect UK agriculture in trade negotiations.”

The warning comes after it has been reported that Australian food imports to the UK will not be required to meet UK food production standards as part of the trade deal. The move has caused some to accuse the Conservatives of merely offshoring pesticide use that UK farmers are prevented from using.

Welsh Lib Dem Leader Jane Dodds said:

The more we hear about these trade deals with Australia and New Zealand, the more evident it becomes that the UK Conservative Government has been walked over by both countries.

The Australian trade deal is set to provide only a 0.08% boost to our economy, yet due to incompetence by Conservative Ministers it could have a devastating effect on Welsh farming communities and in turn, the Welsh language.

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