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The FT is reporting that there is a "ferocious" internal battle raging within the UK Cabinet over whether to allow Australian farmers tariff-free access to UK markets.
- On one side are Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss and Minister of State at the Cabinet Office Lord Frost, both of whom are supportive of allowing a 'zero tariff' deal to show the intention of the UK to be a global trading power post-Brexit.
- On the other is Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove, who are both supposedly seeking to limit the impact of an FTA on UK farmers, with both concerned that a zero-tariff deal could place unsustainable pressure on British farming.
- There are also deeper reasons for the split according to the FT's Peter Forster and George Walker, and indeed why each side is seemingly unwilling to budge. For the pro-zero-tariff sides there is the view that gaining an FTA with Australia (and indeed New Zealand) will allow back-door access to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) free-trade group.
- For the anti-zero-tariff ministers, though, there is supposedly concern that a deal that is detrimental to livestock farmers (a significant proportion of whom are in Scotland and Wales) could result in greater nationalist sentiment in both nations and damage the gov'ts rural agenda.
- Significant deadline in a few weeks, with Truss wanting a deal reached before the 11-13 June G7 summit in Cornwall, England. Australian PM Scott Morrison is due to be in attendance. May need intervention from PM Boris Johnson to break the seeming deadlock.