UK farmers and civil society say Australia-UK trade deal sets a “dangerous precedent” for environmental sustainability

April 19, 2022: Following the signing of the Australia-UK Free Trade Deal (A-UKFTA), the UK Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) has published a report that confirms the trade deal will lower environmental sustainability standards.

The report is a chapter-by-chapter assessment of the trade deal’s impact on UK protections of animal and plant life, animal welfare, and environmental protections. The report finds that the deal is likely to result in:

  • More imports of GMO crops to the UK
  • More imports produced using pesticides banned in the UK
  • More wool from sheep that have be mulesed
  • More beef from feedlot systems
  • More meat imports that have been produced without pain relief
  • More imports from deforested land, such as beef and cereals

National Farmer’s Union President Minette Batters said that “even the government’s own FTA assessment anticipates a negative economic impact on UK farmers.”

Vicki Hird, head of sustainable farming at Sustain, warned that the lowering of standards in the UK-Australia FTA sets a “dangerous precedent” ahead of future trade negotiations with larger agri-producing nations, such as the US, Canada and Brazil.

“We have long warned that this deal could result in a lowering of food, animal welfare and environmental standards in the UK and this TAC report confirms our fears.”

  • To read Sustain’s response to the assessment, click here.
  • To read the National Farmers' Union response to the assessment, click here.
  • To read the TAC report, click here.
  • To read Sustain’s submission to the TAC’s call for evidence, click here.