MPs ‘disappointed’ as govt refuses Welsh impact assessment of Australia trade deal
In response to the Welsh Affairs Committee’s report on the impact of the UK-Australia free trade agreement on Wales, the Government has reiterated its commitment to sharing draft treaty texts with devolved administrations.
The Government has set out safeguards for beef and sheep meat imports. It also states that under the FTA, further protections will be provided, such as a general bilateral safeguard mechanism, which offers a safety net for industry, should imports threaten their business.
Responding to the Committee’s recommendation that further Agriculture and Food Counsellors be appointed overseas, the Government states its aim to expand their number to cover “more new and exciting trading markets”.
However, the Government rejected the Committee’s recommendation that the Department for International Trade publishes a Wales-specific impact assessment, stating that sub-national analysis is already provided on the UK-wide impact.
Welsh Affairs Committee Chair, Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP, said: “The Government’s response today to our work examining the impact of the UK-Australia FTA for Wales is broadly welcome. However, while I am pleased to see the UK Government reiterate its commitment that the draft treaty text of FTAs is shared with the UK’s devolved administrations, I am disappointed that our recommendation of a Wales-specific impact assessment has been rejected.”
Welsh Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said earlier this year that the deal left Welsh farmers “exposed” as trade barriers for Australian beef and lamb are diminished.