Australia is not going to be able to replace British beef amid trade deal

19 May 2021, 14:10

By Tim Dodd

The Chair of the Australia-EU Red Meat Market Access Taskforce Andrew McDonald has said Australia will 'only be a gap filler' for UK red meat in an upcoming trade deal.

It comes as the PM is set to approve a trade deal with lower tariffs on agricultural imports which British farmers worry could damage their business.

The National Farmers' Union has warned that farmers will struggle to compete if a zero-tariff trade on lamb and beef goes ahead.

Tom Swarbrick began by asking Mr McDonald: "What would you say to people like the National Farmers' Union who say we're not going to be able to function, we're not going to be able to get our costs down enough to make it viable?"

Mr McDonald replied: "Firstly I'd say that Australia is amongst the highest cost supplier globally in terms of protein. We're not trying to be bottom of the barrel, we're trying to be high-end products.

"If you look the prices and average levels we're sending to the UK currently, we're not dumping on the market by any means, if anything we're probably holding some of those prices up.

"Australia is not going to be able to replace British beef in the local economy by any means. We're a substitute and we can be a gap-filler where there's shortages in supply domestically."

Tom then asked about Australian food standards, following previous concerns over the potential lowering of UK standards through a US trade deal.

Mr McDonald said: "We've been shipping product into the UK for the last four decades at least under the current rules. There's never been any concerns about quality or how it's been raised or even how it's been looked after - it's part of this sensationalist commentary which starts up when everyone starts talking about an open free trade agreement."

READ MORE: UK and India strike £1bn trade deal that will create 6,000 jobs, PM says

"What would it say about the UK as a global trading nation if the Prime Minister was to decide to keep tariffs at 20% or not reduce them to zero?", Tom asked.

"I think from our point of view that would be a deal-killer," Mr McDonald said.

"If you can't get a free trade agreement done with Australia or New Zealand as you're both intending to do, who can you get one done with? And what's this whole talk of 'Global Britain' all about really? I don't think you'll find a more like-minded country to work with.

"So we can't get a deal done between ourselves because of a perception that we're a threat, or not wanting to work together for common benefits, I think that's a fair sign as to where the UK is at in terms of their approach global trade."

More Tom Swarbrick

See more More Tom Swarbrick

Ben Kentish

Swarbrick On Sunday with Ben Kentish 7/8 | Watch again

Exclusive
Former Director of the CIA General David Patraeus tells Tom Swarbrick that the UK's response to the war in Ukraine has been 'the manifestation of Global Britain'.

UK response to Ukraine war 'the manifestation of Global Britain', says ex CIA boss

Tom Swarbrick will be the new host of LBC's Drivetime programme

Tom Swarbrick to present LBC's Drivetime programme

Swarbrick on Sunday

Swarbrick On Sunday 31/7 | Watch again

The Russian ambassador told Tom Swarbrick the row over Boris Johnson's meeting with Lebedev is a "non-story"

Boris Johnson's meeting with Lebedev is a 'non-story', says Russian ambassador

Swarbrick On Sunday 18/07

Swarbrick On Sunday 24/7 | Watch again

Swarbrick On Sunday 18/07

Swarbrick On Sunday 17/7 | Watch again

Tory MP backs Penny Mourdant for her 'raw courage' in belly-flopping on TV

Tory MP backs Penny Mordaunt for her 'raw courage' in belly-flopping on TV show

'Tory members won't vote Rishi Sunak for PM due to racism', alleges caller

'Tories won't vote Rishi Sunak for PM due to racism', alleges caller

Etonian blasts Tories over 'absurd, subsidised' charitable status for private schools

Etonian backs Starmer over 'absurd' charitable status for private schools

Private school no longer a golden ticket to 'elite society' says Tom Swarbrick

Private school no longer a golden ticket to 'elite society' says Tom Swarbrick

Putin blockades Ukraine because he wants to 'create new migrant crisis through starvation'

Caller who illegally arrived in UK wedged between train carriages shares story with LBC

Exclusive
Sunak's former tutor admits he wouldn't vote for him as PM

Sunak's former tutor admits he wouldn't vote for him as PM

Britain must take in 100,000 asylum seekers a year, says immigration lawyer

Britain must take in 100,000 asylum seekers a year, says immigration lawyer

Tory MP backs Sajid Javid for PM due to his 'outstanding integrity'

Tory MP backs Sajid Javid for PM due to his 'outstanding integrity'

Exclusive
Jeremy Hunt speaks to LBC's Tom Swarbrick.

Jeremy Hunt backs Rwanda-style plan and hits out at 'unfunded tax cuts' promised by rivals