New Trade and Agriculture Commission could protect food standards post-Brexit

02 July 2020, 09:14 AM
  • The new commission follows increasing concerns about the impact of low-quality imports
New Trade and Agriculture Commission could protect food standards post-Brexit

After millions petitioned to protect British farmers amidst ongoing trade deals, the Government has agreed to set up a Trade and Agriculture Commission.

As negotiations continue, the commission will advise ministers on the UK’s approach to post-Brexit trade agreements. It comes after months of campaigning by farmers and agricultural unions across the UK, including the NFU, whose food standards petition currently has over one million signatures.

The Government’s handling of trade deals has been scrutinised for weeks as fears over food safety standards intensified. Farmers as well as consumers voiced concerns over an influx of cheap, poor-quality imports that would threaten the UK’s food standards and put British farmers’ livelihoods at risk.

Announcing the new commission, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss wrote to NFU president Minette Batters, claiming the decision came about following “positive discussions” with four of the country’s biggest farming unions: NFU, NFU Scotland, NFU Cymru and Ulster Farmers’ Union.

Speaking about the commission, Batters said: “I am very pleased that the government is taking concrete action to address the challenges of safeguarding our high food and farming standards by agreeing to set up a Trade and Agriculture Commission, something we first called for over 18 months ago. This is a hugely important development.

“We look forward to working with Government and other stakeholders in the days ahead on the Commission’s terms of reference, to ensure that its work is genuinely valuable. In particular, it will be vital that Parliament is able to properly consider the Commission’s recommendations and can ensure Government implements them effectively.

“The NFU will continue to scrutinise the progress of trade negotiations with the USA and other countries over the coming months outside of the work of the Commission so that our future trade deals work for British farmers and consumers, and believe it is vital that Parliament is provided a strengthened role in this regard as well.”

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