Plaid Cymru calls for assessment on impact of trade deals on Welsh economy
‘Tiny trade deals’ result of ‘frenzied dash for glossy headlines’
Plaid Cymru will today (Monday 12 December) propose an amendment to the Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill calling for an economic assessment on the impact of post-Brexit trade deals on the Welsh economy.
Ahead of a debate in the House of Commons on the Australia and New Zealand trade deals, Plaid Cymru’s International Trade spokesperson, Hywel Williams MP said that “rather than plug the Brexit-sized holes in trade, these tiny trade deals could actually have a negative impact on key Welsh sectors like agriculture.”
The Welsh Government says neither the Australian or New Zealand deals provide any significant opportunities for Welsh agricultural producers and that the increased market access for Australian and New Zealand producers presents a number of concerns. NFU Cymru and the Farmers' Union of Wales say the negative impact estimated for agriculture will likely be disproportionately felt in Wales compared to other parts of the UK because of its reliance on beef and sheep meat.
Plaid Cymru’s amendment calls for an assessment of the impact of the procurement chapters of the New Zealand and Australia FTAs on Wales' economic sectors.
The UK Government have refused to give Parliament scrutiny powers over the trade deals in their entirety, but the procurement sections of the trade deals require new primary legislation to provide for their implementation for the entry into force of the Agreements. The Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Bill will enable the implementation of, and the making of other provision in connection with, the government procurement Chapters of the United Kingdom’s free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand.
The Plaid Cymru MP says that these “rushed” trade deals should be a “lesson for the UK Government” and that the Welsh Government must be given a say “if we want trade deals that enhance – not undermine – our local economies”.
Plaid Cymru’s International Trade spokesperson, Hywel Williams MP said:
“The Australia and New Zealand trade deals are the result of a frenzied dash for glossy headlines without a thought about the impact on Wales or the wider UK economy. Rather than plug the Brexit-sized holes in trade, these tiny trade deals could actually have a negative impact on key Welsh sectors like agriculture.
“The UK Government’s refusal to give MPs and the devolved legislatures proper scrutiny powers over post-Brexit trade policy leaves Wales vulnerable to these damaging Free Trade Agreements. Just last month, the former Environment Minister George Eustice reminded us how important proper scrutiny is when he criticised the Australia FTA for giving too much away.
“Evidence from the Farmers’ Union of Wales shows that the UK’s trade deal with New Zealand is 40 times worse for Welsh farmers than the EU-New Zealand deal. Westminster has categorically failed to fight for the interests of the Welsh economy. These rushed trade deals should be a lesson for the UK Government; the Welsh Government must be given a say if we want trade deals that enhance – not undermine – our local economies”.
Further information on the amendment:
Liz Saville Roberts
To move the following Clause—
“Welsh sectoral impact assessment
The Secretary of State must publish an assessment of the impact of the procurement Chapters on each economic sector in Wales within twelve months of the coming into force of regulations made under section 1 and every 12 months thereafter.”
Member's explanatory statement
This new clause would require the UK Government to publish Wales-specific impact assessments which include an assessment of the impacts on specific sectors.