The UK and Australia have agreed the broad terms of a post-Brexit trade deal to be announced later on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison were said to have agreed the pact over dinner in Downing Street.
Downing Street did not deny the reports and, if confirmed, the agreement would be the first trade deal negotiated from scratch since the UK’s exit from the European Union.
Industry leaders have raised concerns over possible compromises on food standards, while farmers fear they could be undercut by cut-price imports.
A split in the Cabinet also appeared between International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Environment Secretary George Eustice, who has concerns about the impact on farmers.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove also fears a deal could fuel demands for Scottish and Welsh independence.
The deal is expected to give food producers in both countries easier access to each other’s markets
The UK government says membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) could provide British farmers with huge opportunities.
However, there have been concerns in the farming community about the UK compromising on its food standards.
Farmers in Australia are allowed to use some hormone growth promoters, pesticides, and additives that are banned in the UK.
Mr Morrison has said that Britain joining the European Common Market in 1973 dealt “a devastating blow to Australian producers” and that Brexit “was an opportunity for us to pick up where we left off all those years ago”.
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