Brexit backlash: UK's trade deal with New Zealand branded 'disgrace' in furious outburst

Britain signed confirmed the agreement-in-principle with New Zealand earlier this week, with Downing Street insisting it would ramp up trade by eliminating tariffs of up to 10 percent on a range of UK goods and cutting red tape for UK businesses. International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan has attempted to calm fears among British farmers, saying it was a “possibility” they could start sending more lamb to New Zealand as opposed to being the victims of cheap imports. The minister’s department has said the trade deal will “remove barriers to trade and deepen access for our advanced tech and services companies”.

But the chair of the independent Climate Change Committee (CCC), which advises the government has launched a furious attack, claimed the deal places both British farmers and consumers under threat.

Lord Deben is also the former Tory agriculture minister.

He told the Soil Association’s conference the trade deal is “not acceptable” and goes against everything promised to farmers by the Government in terms of protecting them and UK consumers.

The expert said: “The New Zealand trade deal is a disgrace.

“It is not acceptable and it is completely at odds with everything the government has promised to do to safeguard our farmers and protect UK consumers.

“We are looking for sustainability – not unsustainable trade deals.”

He also called for more detail to be provided on the Environmental Land Management Scheme, which is aimed at replacing schemes currently available under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.

Lord Deben described the Government’s claims on the environment and farming as “too vague”.

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The food strategy adviser said: “There is no point in creating a food and farming system here that looks after animals, sequesters carbon, and supports biodiversity if overseas products on our shelves don’t do the same.”

National Farmers’ Union president Minette Batters said the post-Brexit trade deal with New Zealand – combined with the earlier deal with Southern Hemisphere neighbour Australia – could open up the UK to “significant extra volumes of imported food” while “securing almost nothing in return for UK farmers”.

She said: “This could damage the viability of many British farms in the years ahead, to the detriment of the public, who want more British food on their shelves, and to the detriment of our rural communities and cherished farmed landscapes.”

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