The Australian Trade Deal

Posted on June 16, 2021

Let’s talk about this fanfare over an Australian trade deal. It’s a load of old bollocks isn’t it?

Yes, of course we need trade deals because now we have fallen out with our best trading partner, there is some work to do. Firstly though, we must put ourselves in the shoes of the countries we are trying to do deals with.

These people are not stupid. However, they could be forgiven for thinking we are. They know that we have crashed out of a free trading arrangement with the EU. They also know we are at loggerheads with a bloc that insists we stick to the protocol written, signed, and agreed by ourselves.  

Who Holds the Cards

Essentially, anyone Britain wants a trade deal with, holds all the cards. It’s like me sacking off my biggest client and fizzing around all the ones I previously didn’t care much about, grovelling for their business. They would be rubbing their hands together.

The detail of the trade deal is something I will allow anyone who is interested enough, to follow up themselves. But, amongst the bunting, the net benefit to the UK is said to be around £34 million a year. To put that in perspective, it is the sort of money Leeds United might spend on a midfielder this summer. Or around 0.1 % of what Test & Trace has cost the UK taxpayer (around £35 billion).

To use pub talk; it is a piss in the ocean.

So, how about any potentially negative effect? Let’s put aside the fact that the Australian PM is an absolute fruit cake engulfed in twisted wack job religious conspiracy theories. Let’s look at farming instead. The table below comes from the RSPCA, not someone who thinks cockroaches can talk and that Michelle Obama is a man.

We will be told this is fake news and it will be said that we won’t indulge in trading cattle with Australia. The real interests lie elsewhere, we will be told. Boris Johnson did mention cars, which seemed a bit of an odd one to throw out there. Maybe Australians love Vauxhall Vectra’s?

British Farmers

However, try convincing British farmers that this is not a worrying development and stand well back. More worrying still, is that desperate or crooked farmers are likely to lower their own standards to compete. Before you say, ‘they can’t, it’s illegal’, remember that we are no longer in the EU, so we no longer must adhere to their standards.

If farmers in the UK do drop their standards, any market they have left in the EU is gone. This will be portrayed in the media as the EU being deliberately awkward. The truth will be that the EU don’t want poorly farmed food flowing into their bloc. Some farmers will survive and stick to regulations that remain at (and often above) EU regulations. Others will pack it in or go rogue.

If the rest of the market gets flooded with mass produced cheap cattle, we will be living in a two-tier system. Tier one: great food for those who can afford it. Tier 2: chicken, beef and lamb stuffed with hormones and God knows what else?

Is that what is known as ‘levelling up’?  when I did business studies (albeit 30 years ago) it was known as ‘a race to the bottom’.

Will the people of this great nation ever learn that we are a country governed by populist chancers who have hijacked The Conservative Party?

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