A new report published this week sets out in detail how the UK can develop and secure core standards in future trade deals. The briefing from the Institute for European Environmental Policy, entitled ‘Environmental standards for UK agriculture in a new trade policy framework’ examines how the UK can protect existing standards, and ensure trade policy is aligned with the UK’s commitments to protect and enhance the environment.
Commissioned by WWF and Client Earth the briefing examines the approaches that could be taken to maintain environmental standards in the context of trade – looking at how rules can be applied consistently to product standards and production standards as well as how these are applied domestically and to imports.
It examines processes currently being considered, such as dual tariffs, and finds they are insufficient to apply these rules consistently, and are too easily subject to change based on negotiation. It suggests instead developing a set of core standards that protect our ability to deliver key environmental outcomes, in areas that have significant impact on agricultural practices, and have potential costs for producers that could limit their competitiveness. It also suggests an initial set of areas where such standards should be set.
Drafted by David Baldock, the report’s introduction states: “Opinions over whether new import standards could be challenged successfully under WTO rules vary but there are interesting precedents and the EU has been proactive in defending several of its own standards through the control of imports. With gathering global momentum to tackle climate change and the loss of biodiversity the time for supporting rising environmental standards in a more effective way via transparent and strongly grounded trade policy surely has arrived."
You can read the report in full here
18 Dec 2020
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