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Liz Truss took an SNP MP to task in the Commons over his demands to back down to the EU and delay the Australia trade deal. This comes as a free trade agreement is expected to be signed off by Boris Johnson and his Australian counterpart next week. Britain’s International Trade Secretary ripped into SNP’s Angus Brendan MacNeil in the House of Commons on Thursday.
Mr MacNeil said: “The trade deals with the US, Canada and New Zealand will only make up about four percent of the Brexit damages, as the Secretary of State well knows.
“However, by signing a Swiss-style SPS agreement, greater economic growth could be achieved. It wouldn’t threaten farming, as the Australia trade deal does.
“It would also sort out the Northern Ireland sausage protocol situation and it would prevent the Prime Minister from getting into a row with the President of the US.”
Liz Truss fired back at this, insisting that the UK would not back down to Brussels and that “we need to see pragmatism from the EU in order to resolve this issue”.
She continued: “You don’t seem to acknowledge that the parts of the world we are talking about, whether that’s the Asia Pacific, or the deals we are striking with India and the Gulf.
“Those are the fastest growing parts of the world. He is living in a static past, we are living in a dynamic future.”
A free trade agreement with Australia could increase UK exports to Australia by up to £900m, which would increase total trade to more than £20bn a year.
Writing in the Herald this week, Ms Truss accused the SNP of trying to “deny Scotland the benefits of the UK-Australia trade deal”.
She added: “A gold standard agreement with our allies Australia, which is now in sight, would mark the next generation of trade deals.
“It is set to be the first deal we have negotiated from scratch as a newly independent trading nation.”
Under the deal, products such as Scottish Whisky could be exported to Australia tariff-free in a boost to UK producers whilst cheaper meat and wine products could be exported by Australia to the UK.
Last week, Ms Truss agreed a trade deal with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein worth up to £21bn in trade.
The deal will boost Britain’s fish processing industry by supporting 18,000 jobs in Scotland and northern England and will help secure access to agricultural markets.