The Institute of Export & International Trade has welcomed the UK’s breakthrough trade deal with Australia but is calling on the government to provide more details.
IOE&IT director general Marco Forgione said that the prospect of a trade agreement between the UK and Australia “should produce results for exporters and lower prices for UK shoppers. The deal also provides a tremendous boost for UK trade in services and digital trade”.
No fear in sharing
However, he said that to maintain support for free and fair trade, it was essential that the public, and business, are kept informed.
“We need to see the details of what has been, and still is being, negotiated,” Forgione said.
“The UK government should not be afraid to share, in broad terms, its negotiating objectives. That would be normal practice in democratic countries and has been shown to improve the terms and implementation of free trade agreements.”
Forgione’s comments come as calls continue for the trade deal to be scrutinised by parliament. Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon is demanding that the deal should face a vote at both Westminster and Holyrood, the Telegraph reports.
Writing in Politics Home, the chair of the Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee, Neil Parish has said parliament must scrutinise the deal to ensure that it does not undercut British farmers or consumers.
Although trade secretary Liz Truss established the independent Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) last year to consider the views of agriculture and producers, the government has not responded to the report it produced in March, Parish said.
Truss defended the deal to MPs yesterday, saying they could “rest assured that this deal upholds our world class standards from food safety to animal welfare, to the environment.
According to Farmers Weekly, there is no let-up in opposition to the deal from farmers who are being urged to lobby their MPs to ensure they are protected from unfair competition.