United Kingdom

Tesco and Morrisons say they will shun Australian meat even if it is cheaper

In a major boost for British farmers, two of Britain's biggest supermarkets have pledged not to sell Australian meat – even if it is cheaper.

Tesco, the nation's largest grocer, and Morrisons will reject meat from Down Under following a historic trade deal that slashes tariffs.

British farmers fear they will be driven out of business if the market is flooded with low-cost Australian meat.

As much as 35,000 tons of tariff-free beef could arrive from Australia over the next year – equivalent to an eighth of the UK's total beef imports.

But some of the nation's leading supermarkets said yesterday they would stick with British suppliers.

Tesco, the nation's largest grocer, and Morrisons will reject meat from Down Under following a historic trade deal that slashes tariffs (file photo)

Morrisons said: 'All Morrisons fresh meat is 100 per cent British... from UK farmers we trust'

Tesco said it 'did not anticipate any change' to its British and Irish supply base following the deal. Chief executive Ken Murphy added: 'They produce local, high-quality produce and we're proud to work with them.'

Morrisons said: 'All Morrisons fresh meat is 100 per cent British... from UK farmers we trust.'

Sainsbury's said it 'sourced British as much as we possibly can', but sometimes looked abroad to 'ensure the best quality, value and availability'.

Aldi said it would continue to source its core range of fresh meat from Britain, but it was too early to make a commitment on frozen or processed products.

Waitrose, Asda and Lidl did not comment.

The free-trade deal is the first agreement the UK has signed since Brexit.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said it would lead to 'lower prices for UK shoppers', leading some to infer British firms would be undercut.

The UK imports £46million of meat from Australia each year, £182million of consumer goods and £249million of wine.

The deal allows tariff-free trade for British exports such as whisky and cars and boosts Britons' right to work in Australia.

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