Australian meat could soon be granted tariff-free entry to the United Kingdom under a major free-trade deal.
Trade Minister Dan Tehan is confident he can finalise the agreement in the next six weeks as both nations sprint to the finish line.
However, the deal has caused consternation within Boris Johnson’s government and British farmers have accused Australia of not playing by the rules.
They claim Australian meat imports do not meet UK standards, and warn the deal will create an uneven playing field.
Mr Tehan said Australia wanted to offer British consumers the option of high-quality Australian goods over other imports.
“I had two days sitting down with (UK trade secretary) Liz Truss on my recent visit to the UK and we are now meeting every week in a sprint to have an in-principle agreement by the end of June,” he told The Australian on Thursday.
“Australian food is of the highest quality. We are world leaders when it comes to food safety, traceability, animal welfare standards, land management and environmental management.
“We have a robust regulatory framework for the use of agriculture and veterinary chemicals and strong compliance among producers.”
Mr Tehan said Australia’s red meat industry had set ambitious carbon targets, meeting Britain’s demand for climate-friendly products.
Australian beef and sheepmeat producers face inhibitive tariffs and caps on exports to the UK.
National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson said the UK was a small market a very long way away for Australian farmers.
Ms Simson said she did not want to get into a tit-for-tat battle with the National Farmers’ Union in Britain.
She said the UK would be a niche market for Australian farmers, but stressed the importance of exporting to a diverse range of countries.