The broad terms of a trade deal between the UK and Australia have been agreed, the Irish Farmers Journal understands.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson and Australian PM Scott Morrison are reported to have agreed the deal over dinner at Downing Street on Monday evening.

Access for beef and sheepmeat, along with wine, were the main ambitions for the Australian negotiators.

The UK government says membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) could provide British farmers with huge opportunities.

Irish impact

Additional beef and sheep supplies hitting the UK market will create additional direct competition for Irish exports.

Without either a tariff or quota limit on imports, the door is now open for unlimited quantities of Australian beef to target the British market.

The complete removal of tariffs and quotas on imports is expected to be phased in over a 15-year period.

In 2020, the UK imported 246,305t of beef, of which 194,386t or 79% came from the Republic of Ireland. Only 559t was imported from Australia.

New Zealand

The UK is also at an advanced stage of negotiation with New Zealand and the common interest for Irish farmers in these negotiations is access for agricultural produce.

Australia and New Zealand are the top two exporters of sheepmeat in the world, accounting for 70% of global exports between them.