Irish exports to the UK will be displaced by product from Australia and New Zealand under post-Brexit trade deals, a senior UK government minister has said.
“We import just over 300,000t of beef at the moment, of which 98% comes from the EU and 78% of that is from Ireland,” said international trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan.
“What we are looking at here is a potential displacement issue, but we will also be building in a very clear framework of safeguards [for UK farmers],” she told MPs on Wednesday.
During her meeting with Westminster’s trade committee, most of the discussion surrounded concerns about the UK giving away tariff-free access for beef and lamb under the Australian and New Zealand trade deals.
But Trevelyan played down concerns that there would be a sharp rise in meat imports into the UK, by suggesting that Australia and New Zealand would remain focused on supplying markets in Asia.
“They have a need for greater quantities of protein due to fast-growing populations and rising middle classes. It means there will be a continuing growing market for New Zealand, Australian, and indeed our farmers to make use of in the years ahead,” the Conservative MP said.