Liz Truss Says The EU Should Be "Pragmatic" And "Reasonable" Over 'Sausage War' Row
Liz Truss has urged EU leaders to be "pragmatic" in talks aimed at resolving the so-called 'sausage wars' before new regulatory checks come into force.
The trade row comes ahead of looming deadline for new regulatory checks to be put in place on cold meats being imported into Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
The two sides have been at loggerheads over the interpretation of the Northern Ireland Protocol, with the EU calling for strict checks on goods, while the UK government has warned the new system could undermine the integrity of the UK and inflame tensions in Northern Ireland.
But speaking on Wednesday, international trade secretary Liz Truss urged the bloc to be "responsible" in forthcoming talks aimed at resolving the row by the end of the month.
"We need the EU to be pragmatic about the checks that are undertaken and that was always the way the protocol was drafted," she told Sky News.
"It requires a compromise between the parties and the EU needs to be reasonable and that is what Lord Frost is asking for.
"The deal with the Northern Ireland Protocol was that there had to be a pragmatic approach and that is what we need to see from the EU."Lord Frost continues to be in discussions with the EU to talk this situation out.
"But I would urge the EU to be responsible and pragmatic and sort this issue out."
Truss told LBC the government was "not going to allow the EU to use this as a way of trying to get the UK to dynamically align with EU standards."
Her comments come amid fears that a strict interpretation of the rules could scupper future trade deals between the UK and other nations, including the agreement struck with Australia on Tuesday.
The new deal – the first to be fully negotiated since the UK left the EU – will include tariff free trade on UK and Australia goods, with a government analysis concluding the agreement could boost UK GDP by 0.02% over 15 years.
But Truss claimed the deal could be worth much more to the UK economy because the "static analysis" did not take into account future economic growth.
"It's not just important in itself it's got opportunities within Australia," she said.
"It's also about access to the wider Pacific market. We want to sign up to the Trans Pacific partnership – a market of 11 countries, 500million people and doing the Australia deal is a key part of that. That's where the growing demand is for the kind of products and services we sell.
"Those economies are growing fast.
"We expect trade with Australia to increase by 30% by 2030 and with a wider trans Pacific area we expect it to grow by 65 percent."The deal has also raised fears among the British agriculture sector that they will be left unable to compete with an influx of cheap Australian meat, with costs driven down because of lower animal welfare standards.
But speaking to Times Radio, the cabinet secretary dismissed the fears saying the deal would instead result in standards "improve over time".
"First of all, we have agreed an animal welfare chapter with Australia in this trade deal", she said.
"We will also not be lowering our standards so we will not be allowing hormone-injected beef into Britain.
"In fact, Australia is highly rated in terms of animal welfare by the international welfare organisations.
"I don't agree with those comments and Australia is a high standards country."
She added: "We have an agreement here which is going to see standards of animal welfare improve over time."
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe