Cattle Council of Australia says a Free Trade Agreement with the United Kingdom is an opportunity to improve access to one of the world’s most important high-value markets.

Federal Minister for Trade, Simon Birmingham today launched formal negotiations for an Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UK FTA) with his UK counterpart Liz Truss.

Cattle Council CEO Travis Tobin said a priority for Australia should be unhindered access for prime beef cuts.

“The United Kingdom is home to some of the world’s best restaurants and we have the world’s best beef,” Mr Tobin said.

“Brits were eating Australian beef for decades before joining the EU – they know it’s a good product. For example, more than 100,000 tonnes of beef was shipped to the UK in 1973.

“They demand the world’s best and we lead the world in eating-quality, nutrition and sustainability.

“Our $19 billion beef business will strengthen long-term food security in the UK. And with 66 million customers, the UK is potentially a big market for Australian producers.

“What’s more, people in the UK have the disposable income to go out and buy a premium cut.

“Trade deals are a two-way street and we must make sure any agreement delivers an overall benefit to our industry.

“We share common values with UK beef producers and look forward to striking a deal that compliments those values.

“A well-negotiated FTA will further diversify our markets giving Australian producers greater certainty.

“Australian officials must make access for our beef a top priority in negotiating a deal.

“Our beef industry underpins more than 172,000 jobs in all parts of Australia, from our biggest cities to right through the outback.”