The vast majority of Britons (85%) believe that the government should not cooperate on new trade deals with the arrival of cheaper and inferior food imports. That’s according to a new opinion poll commissioned by the National Farmers Union (NFU).
The British believe that the way of farming in Britain should be championed both at home and abroad. Trade deals should ensure that UK environmental and agricultural standards also apply to imported food, they say.
The result of the poll is a setback for Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new export and agriculture policy. Last month he struck a treaty with Australia that places long-term restrictions on UK exports and barely on Australian ones.
In addition, Johnson is negotiating trade deals with the United States and other English-speaking countries, which have already revealed London’s willingness to accept US genetically modified agricultural products. Meat from animals raised with chemical growth promoters would also soon be welcome. The use of such substances is prohibited in Great Britain.
NFU President Minette Batters said the results send a clear message from the British public that they value and trust British food. “The research results are clear: no one wants UK farmers to go bankrupt because of food imports that do not meet our own animal welfare and environmental standards.”
Nevertheless, according to Batters, this remains a real risk. “Especially if future trade deals with New Zealand, Mexico, Canada and the United States, among others – all major exporters – will have duty-free access to our markets.”