Boris Johnson has called on Canada to strike a new commerce deal to import more British cheese in a bid to boost the UK’s dairy industry.
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The UK signed a trade deal with Canada last year that rolled over the terms of the EU trade deal, however the two sides are now working on an enhanced agreement. (Getty Images)

The Prime Minister said yesterday that Justin Trudeau’s government has been unwilling to open the country up to more British dairy imports in a bid to protect its own farmers.

The UK signed a trade deal with Canada last year that rolled over the terms of the EU deal, however the two sides are now working on an enhanced agreement.

Johnson told Canadian broadcaster CBC that progress on the new deal had been “slightly held up by the Canadian reluctance to allow too much British cheese to tempt the palates of Canadians”.

“I think what’s really needed now is more affordable, high-quality British cheese in Canada and I hope that we can do a deal to allow that,” he said.

“We’re very hopeful that we can do a great deal. There are big opportunities for Canadian business here in the UK – we’re a giant market.”

It comes as Johnson’s cabinet has been split over whether to drop all tariffs and quotas on Australian agricultural goods in an upcoming trade deal.

The Prime Minister has sided with trade secretary Liz Truss who wants to completely open up the British market to Australian beef, lamb and wine products.

Environment secretary George Eustice, meanwhile, has lobbied for some quotas to remain to protect British farmers.

Labour and the National Farmers Union have also hit out at the deal for opening British producers up to Australian competition.

A potential UK trade agreement with Norway also appeared to stumble last week over the inclusion of British beef and cheese in the deal.

Dairy products and, in particular, grass-fed products are performing strongly post-covid in overseas markets.

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