Sustainable farming in trade deals
Many are now deeply concerned that in the race to secure international trade deals, the UK may come under severe pressure to compromise our food standards – a damaging race to the bottom.
The Sustain alliance wants to be sure that trade deals are agreed only if we can guarantee that people in the UK can enjoy a supply of food that is safe, affordable and good for our health, animal welfare, food producers at home and abroad, and the environment – including protecting precious natural resources and reducing the emissions that cause climate change. We also want to be sure that farmers at home and abroad can make a decent living, and for British farmers to be able to produce food and manage our beautiful countryside in a way that respects our needs and the needs of future generations.
Who will decide what standards we end up with for food, farming and fishing? Unfortunately, decisions are likely to be made by trade negotiators behind closed doors. Recent experience shows that officials conduct negotiations in secret and may consult only with a close circle of economic advisors and big business. There are, as yet, no plans by the UK Government to make such trade negotiations open to public debate, nor to effective scrutiny by our elected representatives in parliament, nor to scientific review by the people who work to keep our food safe and sustainable.
Sustain is joining others to campaign for food trade transparency, democracy and accountability. We will also use the specialist expertise of our alliance members to highlight trade concerns specific to the safety and sustainability of our food, farming and fishing. These are summarised in this document as our 10 Red Lines for the UK’s post-Brexit trade deals for food, farming and fishing.
Put simply, under the terms of any trade deals we expect our food, farming and fishing standards to guarantee provision of a reliable and affordable supply of food that is:
- Under democratic control
- Respectful of UK consumer and health priorities
- Good for people
- Good for the planet
- Good for animals
- High quality
- Specified in public sector contracts
Read Sustain’s 10 Red Lines for UK Trade Deals in Food, Farming and Fishing, which provides more details on the ten priorities listed above.