Liz Truss has been given an ultimatum in her task of securing a post-Brexit trade deal with Australia as reports state a “spectacularly big row” over the agreement.
So far, Ms Truss has been tired in talks over a trade deal with the state and a row has also sparked over the prospect of free trade, no quota deal.
However, the Trade Secretary wants to hand Australia a free-trade deal, Environment Secretary George Eustice has warned of the domestic backlash from UK farmers if there are no limits to the deal.
Mr Eustice is concern that the UK farmers will be undercut by a wave of Australian meat imports which may flood the market under a free trade deal.
According to Times Radio’s Tom Newton Dunn, the Environment Secretary has now developed a plan to end the standoff which conjures up the prospect of resignation.
He reports, Mr Eustice insists on a zero-tariff deal but not a zero quota one in order to limit the amount of Australian meat imports which enter the country.
Mr Newton Dunn said: “Eustice, who wants to protect UK farmers from being undercut, will tell Liz Truss he will accept zero tariffs but not zero quotas. Instead, flashpoint Australian imports, such as beef and lamb, must have annual caps.”
Australia would then be forced to adhere to limits on beef or lamb or the UK will not agree on a deal.
One insider said, “They’ve defended their interests well. We just need to do the same for ours.”
Ms Truss has proposed a 10-year transition period for UK farmers although there is fear this would “kick the can down the road” while the US, Mexico and Brazil would also need to be offered a zero-tariff deal, which would flood the market.
It’s expected that the Cabinet ministers will meet on Thursday to discuss the matter before the Prime Minister will be invited.