New Trade and Agricultural Commission membership announced today

10 July 2020, 13:07 PM
  • The official announcement of the new body follows months of campaigning by farmers and agricultural unions across the UK
New Trade and Agricultural Commission membership announced today

The government has made the official announcement for the newly formed Trade and Agricultural Commission. The Commission will advise the government on trade policies that should be adopted to ensure high animal and environmental standards are maintained and British farmers are supported. It was created after the NFU’s petition urging the Government to secure future trade deals in favour of the country’s growers and producers hit over a million signatures.

The new body consists of retailers, farming unions, consumer, hospitality and environmental bodies from across the UK as members.

The Commission will be chaired by food safety expert Tim Smith, a former Chief Executive of the Food Standards Agency and Tesco Group Technical Director, and will report to International Trade Secretary Liz Truss.

The English, Scottish and Welsh branches of the National Farmers Union (NFU), Ulster Farmers Union and the Farmers’ Union of Wales are all represented. Other members include the British Retail Council, UK Hospitality, and the FDF.

Responding to the announcement, NFU president Minette Batters commented that is was a “hugely important development in our campaign to ensure UK farming’s high standards of animal welfare and environmental protection are not undermined in future trade deals.”

She also acknowledged that it was one part of a wider challenge for farmers regarding the UK’s future trade deals. Ms Batters added, “Alongside the work of the Commission, we will continue to engage directly with government on the bilateral negotiations that are underway, to make sure our future trade deals smooth the way for a growth in exports of our great British produce. But this must not come at any cost – if the deal on the table means unfair competition for UK farmers in our home market, then our negotiators must be prepared to walk away. We must not agree a trade deal just for the sake of agreeing a trade deal, and the UK’s high standards must not become a bargaining chip. Regardless of the Commission’s work, we will continue to scrutinise all and any negotiations over the months and years ahead to get the best outcome for British farmers and consumers alike.”

A spokesperson for the FDF added, “The FDF is pleased to be a part of DIT’s new Trade and Agriculture Commission. To ensure and maintain consumer confidence, the UK food and drink industry’s top priority is to maintain the high standards of quality, safety, and animal welfare, of which we are proud of. While there are many elements the Commission must consider to ensure our high standards remain, the Commission should also look forward to the opportunities this presents for exporters in future UK trade agreements and how we can best take advantage of these.”

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