Sustain / Sustainable farming policy / Agricultural policy and trade

Agri-food standards in trade deals

Protection of food standards is something very important to the British public. This was made clear during the debates of the Agriculture Bill in 2020, when millions of people signed petitions and wrote to their local MP.

Government instead opted to create a temporary body called the Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC), tasked with gathering evidence and publishing a report to include recommendations for agri-food in trade deals. From this, 22 recommendations have been proposed to government based on: 

  • Developing an agri-food friendly trade policy; 
  • Prioritising climate and nature; 
  • Taking a strong stance on antimicrobial resistance;  
  • Improving export opportunities for British farmers; and, 
  • Publishing a set of core standards that imports need to meet. 

Following pressure from stakeholders, including the Future British Standards Coalition that is chaired by Sustain CEO Kath Dalmeny, the government agreed to make TAC a permanent body with environment and animal welfare experts. It will now report on the potential impacts of future trade deals to Parliament as negotiated trade deals are put before MPs.

Read more on the Future British Standards Coalition report

Sustain will continue to lobby parliamentarians to protect food standards and stop a dangerous race to the bottom. We need to ensure we don’t prop up poor farming systems that mistreat animals, overuse antibiotics or use pesticides currently banned in the UK. We need to trade in food that is affordable and kind to people and the planet. You can find our 10 Red Lines for UK Trade Deals in Food, Farming and Fishing here.

Read our Toxic Trade report on pesticides

Read the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics report on potential trade deal implications

Take a look at our Good Trade Campaign

Sustainable farming policy: Sustain encourages integration of sustainable food and farming into local, regional and national government policies.

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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

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