Scrutiny of international agreements: UK-Australia free trade agreement Contents

Chapter 3: Goods trade

43.The Government’s Negotiating Objectives were to “secure broad liberalisation of tariffs on a mutually beneficial basis, taking into account UK product sensitivities, in particular for UK agriculture”.49 It also aimed to secure tariff free access for UK industrial and agricultural goods into Australia.50

Box 2: UK goods trade with Australia

In 2019, total goods trade with Australia was worth approximately £8.8 billion, with UK exports worth approximately £4.6 billion and Australian imports worth £4.2 billion. Australia was the UK’s 11th largest goods export market and 15th largest source of imported goods.

The UK’s key goods exports to Australia in 2019 were machinery and transport equipment, material manufactures, and miscellaneous manufactures. Key imports were machinery and transport equipment, miscellaneous manufactures and chemicals.

Sources: ONS, UK trade release: Trade in goods: Country by commodity exports, current prices, non-seasonally adjusted, May 2022; ONS, UK trade release: Trade in goods: Country by commodity imports, current prices, non-seasonally adjusted, May 2022; DIT, Impact assessment of the FTA between the UK and Australia, December 2021: [accessed 21 June 2022]

44.The agreement delivers broad tariff liberalisation for goods, most of which will be eliminated almost immediately.51 It is worth noting that the UK and Australia’s starting positions on tariffs were different. Overall, the UK has higher most-favoured nation (MFN) tariffs52 than Australia, mostly ranging between 0% to 20%, with a significant number between 20% to 30%, and some tobacco products at 70%.53 By contrast, Australia’s tariffs range between 0% to 5%, except for some cheeses which are at 20%.54

45.Under the UK-Australia FTA, 98% of UK exports would be able to enter Australia duty-free on entry into force, rising to 100% by the sixth year.55 Australia will remove customs duties on industrial iron and steel products in five equal instalments and on cheeses in six equal instalments.56 In return, the UK would eliminate its tariffs for 98.5% of goods from entry into force, with a gradual tariff liberalisation for ten products through tariff rate quotas57 and retention of tariffs for some pig, chicken, and long-grain rice products.58

Agriculture and food

Tariff liberalisation and safeguard mechanisms

46.The agreement contains safeguards to mitigate the impact of unforeseen surges in agricultural imports. However, stakeholders argued that the safeguards do not go far enough to protect UK agriculture.59 The safeguards include:

Tariff rate quotas

47.For an interim period—from four to ten years depending on the product—certain agricultural goods will be able to enter the UK tariff free up to a set volume, i.e. they will be subject to so-called tariff rate quotas (TRQs). Tariffs will be due only on imports in excess of the TRQ threshold, which will rise on an annual basis.  TRQs are put in place for beef and sheep meat for the first 10 years; for dairy products for the first five years; for barley, wheat and meslin, and broken rice for the first four years; and sugar for the first eight years. With each year, the volume thresholds of the TRQs will increase.60

48.The NFU (England & Wales) were disappointed that the TRQs for beef and sheep meat will be calculated on the basis of shipped product weight instead of carcass weight equivalent, and that the TRQs will not be distributed across the year, recognising the seasonality of the UK market.61

49.While the Government said that UK producers will be able to benefit from increased export opportunities,62 we heard from witnesses that export benefits will be limited because Australia already has a very low tariff regime.63

Product-specific safeguards for beef and sheep meat

50.The agreement contains a product-specific safeguard,64 which is an ‘emergency’ measure that countries can deploy to restrict imports of certain products if a domestic industry is seriously injured or threatened with serious injury due to increased imports.65 Under this, the Government can increase customs duties on beef and sheep meat to 20% on further imports if certain thresholds set out for years 11 to 15 are exceeded.66 However, witnesses stated that the safeguard thresholds were too high to be effective.67 The trigger threshold for year 15 (170,000mt), for example, is equivalent to approximately half of the UK’s annual total beef imports.68

General safeguard

51.The agreement includes a general bilateral safeguard, under which the importing Party may suspend the customs duty reduction or elimination; or increase the customs duty to a level that does not exceed the most-favoured-nation duty under WTO rules.69 However, the National Farmers Union argued that the bar to trigger action under the general bilateral safeguard is high,70 given that to use the safeguard the UK must demonstrate “serious injury or threat of serious injury caused by increased imports of an originating good of the other Party.”71

52.In addition to the bilateral safeguard in the FTA, the Parties will also have access to the WTO general safeguard, which can be introduced at any time to temporarily restrict the import of a product to protect a specific domestic industry from serious injury caused by an increase in imports.

53.We do not yet know how exactly the agreement will impact the UK market and how effective the above measures will be in managing the transition to zero tariffs. Given the geographical distances and costs involved in shipping agricultural goods to Australia, and the fact that Asia represents Australia’s main export market, trade experts told us that it is unlikely that the UK would be overwhelmed with imports from Australia. Emily Rees told the Committee that often “there are better clients in other parts of the world for that produce, and therefore you rarely have full use of the quota that is put forward.”72 Additionally, Sam Lowe of Flint Global noted, “ There will also be pressure on suppliers from the EU, where I suspect there could be some displacement, so instead of importing from Ireland we might import beef from Australia instead.”

54.However, the UK Government’s Impact Assessment estimates a 0.70% reduction in Gross Value Added (GVA) for the agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector,73 and a reduction in gross output of around 3% for beef and 5% for sheep meat.74 For some livestock farmers and food producers, the agreement will therefore have a negative effect. The devolved administrations, in particular, have raised concerns that increased beef and lamb imports could have a disproportionate negative impact on their agricultural and food sectors.75

55.The prospect of zero tariff agreements with other large agricultural producers could result in cumulative pressures on the agri-food sector. UK farming groups and the devolved administrations were concerned that other negotiating partners would seek similar levels of market access, which would have cumulative negative impacts on the UK agricultural sector.76

56.It remains to be seen how UK agriculture will be impacted by the agreement with Australia and whether the tariff rate quotas and safeguards will protect the interests of the UK agricultural sector, and that of the devolved nations in particular.

57.Individual UK producers may be adversely affected by increased agricultural imports from Australia. We therefore welcome the Government’s assurances that it will be monitoring the usage of TRQs in real time through its licensing system and monitor the implementation of the agreement.77

58.There is a risk that this agreement could set a precedent for the negotiations with countries closer to the UK market, particularly with other large agricultural producers, such as the US, Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. The impacts of the UK-Australia agreement may therefore go well beyond this particular FTA.

59.The key question is the extent to which liberalisation in agricultural trade in the Australia agreement will be claimed as a precedent in future FTA negotiations. The Government regard each FTA in its own terms, but there will be expectations created for future negotiations.

Production methods and animal welfare

60.The Government’s negotiating objectives stated that it would “ensure high standards and protections for UK consumers and workers and build on our existing international obligations. This will include not compromising on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food safety standards.”78

61.Although all imports into the UK must meet our food safety and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures, this does not cover production methods, including on animal welfare. Witnesses noted these practices diverge between the UK and Australia and raised concerns about Australian practices such as battery-hen cages, hot-iron branding, mulesing,79 and longer transport times for animals, as well as use of pesticides which are banned in the UK, and greater reliance on antimicrobials.80 We heard concerns that some of these could give Australian agricultural imports an unfair competitive advantage, and the Government should therefore monitor imports closely.81

Trade and Agriculture Commission findings on agricultural imports from Australia

62.As required by statute, the Trade and Agriculture Commission82 (TAC) was instructed by the Secretary of State for International Trade to provide advice to the Government on whether, or to what extent, the agreement is consistent with UK statutory protections relating to animal and plant life or health; animal welfare; and environmental protections. The TAC produced a report that, among other things, considers whether the agreement would lead to increased imports of Australian agricultural goods grown or raised to different standards.83

63.The TAC’s key conclusion was that the FTA maintains and reinforces existing statutory protections, and is unlikely to lead to substantive increases of imports into the UK of goods produced to lower standards, including animal welfare standards. It noted a few areas where there were specific issues, which are set out below.

64.The TAC concluded that the agreement would probably lead to increased imports of agricultural goods grown with pesticides not permitted for use in the UK (and produced at lower cost). For example, Australian canola oil and chickpeas are produced using insecticides or fungicides banned in the UK and are likely to be imported in larger volumes due to tariff reductions.84 The Government responded in its report pursuant to Section 42 of the Agriculture Act 2020 (the Section 42 Report)85:

“This agreement does not create any new permissions or authorisations for imports from Australia. All agri-food products imported into the UK under this agreement will, as now, have to comply with our import requirements including Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs).”86

65.However, we note that this means that goods with small residues of pesticides banned in the UK may still be imported, as long as they remain under a safe threshold and that in the case of canola oil and chickpeas, the agreement is expected to lead to an increase in imports.87

66.The TAC raised the potential of increased imports of genetically modified canola oil—the only GMO crop that would benefit from the FTA. However, GMO imports are legal in the UK, provided they are labelled as such. The Government explained in its Section 42 Report that GMO products entering the UK must undergo safety assessments led by the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland and be appropriately labelled.88

67.The TAC also noted that products involving the use of antimicrobials, i.e. pork and chicken, were unlikely to enter the UK in larger quantities, as tariffs for these products are not being reduced.

68.In terms of animal welfare, the TAC found that the agreement could lead to an increase in imports of beef raised in feedlots, and imports from farm animals that may not have been given pain relief during certain procedures. There is also an increased risk of imports from abattoirs not using CCTV. The Government stated in its Section 42 Report that, “Australia have committed to working together on a full range of animal welfare matters. This includes commitments to co-operate with them to strengthen animal welfare standards.”89 The TAC concluded that there is a low or no risk of increased imports of meat from animals that have been subjected to much longer transport times, have been mulesed, as well as meat from branded cattle and animals that have not been stunned.90

69.Nonetheless, UK farming associations and trade experts argued that the agreement could have set conditions on animal welfare and production standards in return for tariff reduction for Australian imports.91

70.We welcome the expert Trade and Agriculture Commission’s report on the agreement and note its finding that the FTA is unlikely to lead to substantive increases of imports into the UK of goods produced to lower standards, including animal welfare standards.

71.However, the report also acknowledges that some goods produced to potentially lower standards will enter the UK, including goods produced using pesticides banned in the UK and, in particular, beef that has been raised in feedlots. It is reasonable to assume that Australian producers will enjoy a production cost advantage over UK farmers in those cases. The Government should continue to monitor the levels of pesticide residue on imported goods from Australia and ensure that they remain at safe levels.

72.It is clear that the Government has prioritised tariff removal over demanding certain conditions on production methods and animal welfare to be met. We call on the Government to set out its rationale for prioritising this approach over available alternatives and to consider further the circumstances under which it may ask for such conditionality.

The UK Government’s right to regulate

73.The TAC report found that the agreement did not require the UK to change its statutory protections in relation to animal or plant life or health, animal welfare, and the environment. It concluded that while the agreement itself does not restrict the UK’s rights under the WTO to regulate in these areas, decisions in the Joint Committee “may constrain its freedom to regulate in the future”.92

74.The Joint Committee is a governance body at ministerial or senior official level, has the power to adopt interpretations of the agreement and to amend certain trade liberalisation commitments.93 According to the TAC, the Joint Committee could take different interpretations of how to implement sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures94—in particular, whether the Parties will treat each other’s SPS measures as ‘equivalent’ to their own, even when they differ in certain respects. The Joint Committee could adopt an interpretation regarding SPS equivalence that could subsequently limit the situations in which the UK is able to reject a request from Australia to have an Australian law treated as equivalent to a UK law, thus limiting its ability to regulate.95

75.The TAC noted that these decisions could be taken “without the type of parliamentary scrutiny that would be required for a formal amendment of the agreement”.96 We have previously raised the issue of amendments made by governance bodies as part of our reports on working practices for treaty scrutiny and identified the risk of a scrutiny gap.97

76.The Government responded in its Section 42 Report that, “if the UK and Australia decided to amend the FTA to include a procedure for the recognition of equivalence, then this would be subject to Parliamentary Scrutiny under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010”.98 It acknowledged that the Joint Committee could act as a forum for discussion of certain issues, but stated, “If such discussions result in the treaty being materially or significantly amended—or if they result in a new treaty—this would be subject to the full CRaG procedure.”99

77.The TAC has concluded that the UK’s right to regulate will be unaffected in the short term, but could be constrained through decisions taken by the Joint Committee. We welcome the Government’s confirmation that any equivalence decisions or other significant amendments arising from Joint Committee discussions would be subject to formal scrutiny procedures under CRAG.

78.However, it is unclear what amendments would be considered “significant” and, consequently, be subject to CRAG.

79.Where amendments fall short of the requirement to lay them for parliamentary scrutiny under CRAG—and particularly where the change does not require domestic legislation—there will be a scrutiny gap. We call on the Government to ensure that significant amendments to this agreement that may not engage CRAG are still notified to us.

Consumer benefits

80.The Government’s Objectives state that as a result of a trade agreement with Australia, “UK consumers may also benefit if cheaper consumer goods become available”.100 The Government’s impact assessment estimates that the agreement will lead to a reduction in tariffs of at least £38.3 million per year and that consumers could benefit from these in the form of lower prices on final consumer goods as well as intermediate goods. The impact assessment also states that under the agreement, tariff-free imported goods available to UK consumers would increase from 801 to 1893 types of final consumer products.101 We welcome the increase in consumer choice and agree that cheaper goods are to be welcomed. However, as the Government cautions in its impact assessment, tariff reductions do not always translate into cheaper consumer goods and it remains to be seen whether the agreement will lead to lower prices, and lower food prices in particular.

81.The consumer rights organisation Which? welcomed the potential price reductions, but noted that maintaining the UK’s food and product standards remains a high priority for consumers.102

82.The Government sought advice from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Food Standards Scotland (FSS) in the context of Section 42 of the Agriculture Act 2020. It commissioned the FSA/FSS to “provide advice on whether, or to what extent, the measures in the UK-Australia FTA are consistent with the maintenance of UK levels of statutory protection for human health for the areas within FSA/FSS statutory remit”.103

83.The FSA and FSS found that food and feed imports from Australia will “continue to have to meet UK food safety requirements”.104 This includes, for example, complying with any existing prohibitions and maximum limits for pesticide residues (MRLs) and veterinary medicines, in addition to any other maximum levels for contaminants. Products of animal origin imported from Australia only do so because Australia is a UK-approved country and individual products have been approved for import. The approval process involves audit and assessment of a country’s system of official controls and residue monitoring plan. Products entering the UK have to be accompanied by certificates and a percentage are subject to physical checks to ensure standards are maintained.

84.The FSA/FSS found that no changes to the UK food safety regulatory system are required to give effect to the FTA, and that the Government’s and the devolved administrations’ regulatory autonomy has been preserved.

85.A side letter has been published alongside the FTA which commits the Parties to co-operate on public health.105 However, the Government is not seeking input from stakeholders on the broader impact of the agreement on human health.

86.We welcome the joint FSA/FSS advice which found that the agreement maintains UK levels of statutory protection for human health in relation to food imports.

87.While the FSA/FSS have provided advice on food standards, we regret the DIT has not commissioned advice on the impact of the agreement on broader human health issues. We call on the Government to explain why it has not commissioned such advice.

Manufactured goods

Rules of origin

88.The Negotiating Objectives stated that the Government would seek to “develop simple and modern Rules of Origin that reflect UK industry requirements and consider existing, as well as future, supply chains”.106 The Government has been successful in incorporating these objectives into the agreement.

89.Witnesses told us that the product specific rules of origin are very liberal and likely to be beneficial for the automotive sector.107 In order to qualify for tariff free trade, only 25% of the value of a car is required to originate in either Party. Sam Lowe noted that although the agreement does not allow for extended cumulation with the EU, the product specific rules of origin are liberal enough to make up for the lack of extended cumulation. However, he also cautioned that very liberal product specific rules of origin may raise the risk of ‘circumvention’, in which the country of origin of a product could be altered to get around restrictions and WTO commitments.

90.The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) also welcomed the generous rules of origin, but cautioned that it did not, of itself, guarantee further exports, given the competition from other car exporting countries with which Australia has FTAs, Australia’s luxury car tax (unaffected by the agreement), and the absence of regulatory alignment in the sector.108 The SMMT estimated that more than 38% of units exported from the UK were at risk of paying the luxury car tax in 2019.109

91.The UK’s trade agreement with New Zealand invites both Parties to consider future diagonal cumulation with developing countries—this would have been a welcome clause in the agreement with Australia.110 Allowing cumulation with developing countries can facilitate economic development by making it easier for the Party to the FTA to use materials from developing countries and still meet the rules of origin requirements.

Technical barriers to trade

92.Technical barriers to trade (TBTs) are significant obstacles to increased trade—often with a greater impact than tariffs. In its Negotiating Objectives the Government pledged to reduce such barriers by removing restrictive measures, promoting international standards and seeking arrangements to make it easier for UK manufacturers to have their products tested against Australian rules before exporting. The agreement includes standard provisions promoting international standards as well as encouraging information exchange on conformity assessment procedures, but does not go very far in removing restrictive measures.

93.The agreement contains a Technical Barriers to Trade Chapter111 that commits the Parties to ensuring that any new regulations are non-discriminatory and do not create unnecessary obstacles to trade. It establishes a Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade which will monitor the implementation of the chapter as well as provide a forum for information exchange and for seeking to resolve any differences that may arise regarding the interpretation of the chapter.112

94.Witnesses indicated that many non-tariff barriers will remain. The automotive industry said the agreement could have included an automotive annex which would have removed further barriers.113 Make UK, an organisation that represents a wide range of UK manufacturers, noted that the UK and Australia have very different technical standards and regulations and raised concerns about the remaining regulatory barriers. It also caveated that Australia is a relatively small market for UK manufacturing, accounting for only around 1% of total UK manufacturing exports. However, it hoped that the Parties would use the agreement as a framework to continue discussions to reduce technical barriers.114

95.The UK and Australia already have a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) to reduce some technical barriers to trade,115 which was rolled over from the EU-Australia MRA.116 The MRA should be read alongside the technical barriers to trade chapter, although the MRA is outdated in some areas, having been negotiated mostly in the 1990s with some revisions in the 2000s. Not expanding on the existing MRA was viewed by witnesses as a missed opportunity.117

96.Although Australia represents a relatively small market for UK manufacturing exports, the reduction in tariffs, customs procedures and rules of origin in the agreement are likely to be beneficial.

97.In particular, we welcome the agreement’s liberal rules of origin. We call on the Government to ensure that businesses have support to take advantage of these.

98.While the agreement reduces some technical barriers to trade, more needs to be done. Given the significant differences in the Parties’ regulatory regimes, the agreement should be used as an opportunity to achieve this. We call on the Government to set out its plans for further reducing technical barriers to trade.

Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland

99.Northern Ireland has effectively remained inside the EU’s single market for goods as a result of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. While this does not prevent the UK from signing trade agreements and including Northern Ireland within their scope, there are concerns regarding the degree to which Northern Ireland can benefit from new trade agreements.

100.Under the Protocol, Australian goods entering Northern Ireland deemed ‘at risk’ of onwards movement to Ireland (and consequently the EU) will be subject to the EU external tariff. If subsequently found not to be ‘at risk’, traders can claim a waiver or a rebate. However, the reimbursement scheme promised by the Government is not yet operational. Certain EU rules will also apply to agri-food goods arriving into Northern Ireland, but it is unclear what this means for sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) controls on Australian agricultural goods imports into Northern Ireland.

101.The Government has yet to articulate how the goods provisions in the Australia agreement will interact with the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland. In response to the Introductory report by the Lords’ Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland Sub-Committee,118 the Government acknowledged that “there are elements of the Protocol that are not benefiting Northern Ireland importers and consumers, particularly around the way in which the application of EU tariffs on goods ‘at risk’ of entering the EU is determined”.119 Yet the agreement’s explanatory materials do not provide further information on Northern Ireland’s unique challenges and the steps taken by the Government to overcome them.

102.The UK Government has an obligation to ensure that Northern Ireland is able to benefit from any new trade agreements and is not disadvantaged compared to the rest of the UK. The publication of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill will undoubtedly lead to further debate on this issue.

103.Although there is continued uncertainty over the Protocol, the Government will need to ensure that consumers and businesses in Northern Ireland can fully benefit from this (and any future) trade agreements.

104.We also call on the Government to ensure that the explanatory materials on future trade agreements routinely cover how trade between Northern Ireland and the other Party will be impacted by the Protocol.

49 Strategic Approach, p 9

50 Ibid.

51 The tariff liberalisation schedules for the UK and Australia can be found in the Annexes to Chapter 2: Trade in Goods, UK-Australia FTA

52 Most-favoured nation tariffs are the duties that a World Trade Organization (WTO) country imposes on imports from other members of the WTO, unless the country is part of a preferential trade agreement, such as a free trade agreement or a customs union.

59 Written evidence from National Farmers Union (England & Wales) (AUT0054) and the National Sheep Association (AUT0041)

61 Written evidence from National Farmers Union (England & Wales) (AUT0054) and (AUT0028)

62 The Government’s scoping assessment stated that a key benefit of a trade agreement with Australia would be “reduced barriers to trade in goods, which will make trade easier and cheaper for the UK’s existing exporters to Australia, whilst at the same time benefitting UK consumers”. See: Strategic Approach, p 7

63 Written evidence from Dairy UK (AUT0021)

65 WTO, ‘Technical Information on Safeguard Measures’: [accessed 21 June 2022]

66 The thresholds to trigger the product-specific safeguards for beef and sheep meat can be found under Subsection 2B-3-2: Product treatment, UK-Australia FTA.

67 Written evidence from Farmers Union of Wales (AUT0031) and National Farmers Union (England & Wales) (AUT0054)

68 Written evidence from National Farmers Union (England & Wales) (AUT0054). According to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, the UK’s total beef imports for 2021 was 241,3000 tonnes: AHDB, ‘UK beef imports up, exports down: 2021 trade review’ (16 February 2022): [accessed 21 June 2022]

70 Written evidence from National Farmers Union (England & Wales) (AUT0054)

72 Q 54 (Emily Rees)

74 Ibid., p 32

75 Written evidence from the Northern Ireland Executive (AUT0051); the Scottish Government (AUT0049); and Welsh Government, UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement: A Welsh Government Perspective (10 May 2022):–05/uk-australia-free-trade-agreement.pdf [accessed 21 June 2022]

76 Written evidence from National Farmers Union (England & Wales) (AUT0054); Welsh Government (AUT0050) and Northern Ireland Executive (AUT0051)

77 Oral evidence taken on 27 April 2022,(Session 2021–22) Q 26 (Lord Grimstone of Boscobel, Matthew Davies and Ian Shepherd)

78 Strategic Approach, p 9

79 Mulesing is a practice conducted on merino sheep in order to prevent flystrike, in which folded skin that is susceptible to maggot infestation is removed from the breech area from the sheep Mulesing does not take place on lambs reared for meat. It is only conducted on merino sheep, which are specially bred for wool and have folded skin that increases wool yields. The TAC concluded that pain relief is provided for the majority of mulesed Australian sheep.

80 Written evidence from RSPCA (AUT0004); the British Veterinary Association (BVA) (AUT0014); the Pesticide Action Network UK (AUT0003); Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics (AUT0018); Compassion in World Farming (AUT0012); Sustain (AUT0017); National Farmers Union (England & Wales) (AUT0054) and Farmers Union of Wales (AUT0031)

81 Ibid.

82 The Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) is an independent panel which has been tasked with providing advice to the Government on whether, or to what extent, the measures provided for by new free trade agreements (FTAs) covering trade in agricultural products are consistent with the maintenance of UK levels of statutory protection in relation to animal or plant life or health; animal welfare; and environmental protections. The terms of reference were adopted on 6 December 2021 under section 42 of the Agriculture Act 2020. .

83 The TAC was asked to produce a report on the Australia FTA, which the Government published on 13 April 2022. Trade and Agriculture Commission, Advice to the Secretary of State for International Trade on the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (13 April 2022): [accessed 21 June 2022]. Subsequently: TAC report

84 TAC report, p 46

85 Under the Agriculture Act 2020, Section 42(1), a Government report must be laid before Parliament, which considers whether, or to what extent, the provisions related to agriculture in the free trade agreement are consistent with the maintenance of UK levels of statutory protection in relation to the following areas: (1) human, animal or plant life or health; (2) animal welfare; and (3) the environment. This report must be laid prior to the laying of the trade agreement before Parliament for scrutiny under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.

86 DIT, Report pursuant to Section 42 of the Agriculture Act 2020: UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (June 2022), pp 14–15: [accessed 21 June 2022]. Subsequently: Government Section 42 Report.

87 TAC report p 46

88 Government Section 42 Report, p 15

89 Ibid.

90 TAC report, pp 37–39

91 Written evidence from the RSPCA (AUT0035); National Farmers Union (England & Wales) (AUT0054)and Q 56 (Emily Rees)

92 TAC report, p 43

93 Articles 29.1 and 29.2, UK-Australia FTA

94 Sanitary and phytosanitary measures are directed at risks caused by pests and diseases, as well as from additives, contaminants, and toxins in foods and feedstuffs.

95 TAC report, pp 33–34

96 Ibid., p 34

97 European Union Committee, Treaty scrutiny: working practices (11th Report, Session 2019–21, HL Paper 97), ; and International Agreements Committee, Working practices: one year on (7th Report, Session 2021–22, HL Paper 75)

98 Government Section 42 Report, p 5

99 Government Section 42 Report, p 6

100 Strategic Approach, p 33

102 Written evidence from Which? (AUT0046)

103 Government Section 42 Report, Annex A

104 Ibid.

105 DIT, ‘Letter from Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP to Minister Tehanon on UK-Australia FTA health matters’, (16 December 2021): [accessed 21 June 2022]

106 Strategic Approach, p 9

107 QQ 7475 (Alessandro Marongiu) and Q 57 (Sam Lowe)

108 QQ 7475 (Alessandro Marongiu)

109 Written evidence from SMMT (CPT0048)

110 Q 10 (Michael Gasiorek)

113 Q 74 (Alessandro Marongiu)

114 Q 4 (Richard Rumbelow)

115 Agreement on Mutual Recognition in Relation to Conformity Assessment, Certificates and Markings between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of Australia, CP 28 (18 January 2019): [accessed 21 June 2022]

116 European Commission, ‘Mutual Recognition Agreements’: [accessed 21 June 2022]

117 Q 77 (Alessandro Marongiu) and written evidence from the Welsh Government (AUT0050)

118 European Affairs Committee, Report from the Sub-Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland: Introductory report (2nd Report, Session 2021–22, HL Paper 55)

119 HM Government, ‘Government response to the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland Sub-Committee’s introductory report’ (28 September 2021): [accessed 21 June 2022]

© Parliamentary copyright 2022