Boris Johnson refuses to rule out tariff-free Australia deal when challenged by Plaid MP


Hywel Williams (CC BY 3.0 Chris McAndrew). Farm (Image: Gwalia).

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to rule out the prospect of a trade deal that would grant Australian farmers tariff-free access to the UK Market.


Farming unions said the deal would cause “irreversible damage” to the sector as import taxes on Australian lamb are reduced to zero over the next fifteen years.


In the House of Commons, Plaid Cymru MP Hywel Williams challenged Johnson saying, “In 2019 before visiting Wales, the prime minister said, ‘I will always back Britain's great farmers.’"


Williams then accused him of "backing Australia's farmers instead."


He then asked Johnson whether he would "keep to his word" and support Welsh farmers by permanently ruling out tariff-free access for Australian lamb and beef imports.


Johnson replied: "I will back Britain’s farmers and Welsh farmers in exporting their fantastic lamb around the world.


"Is it not a disgrace that not a single morsel of Welsh lamb has passed the lips of the Americans in the last 20 years or more, Mr Speaker? What about China, Mr Speaker?


"Has he no ambition for the people of this country over the people of Wales or for Welsh farmers? I do, this government does, Mr Speaker, that’s why we’re getting on with our agenda.”


Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price also said that pressing ahead with a zero-tariff deal would

"wipe out Welsh agriculture".


Price said that a zero-tariff deal would be "the ultimate proof of Westminster’s 'zero loyalty' to Wales."

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