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Parliamentary committee in fresh call for core food standards in trade

The Government should formally commit to upholding animal welfare and environmental standards in all post-Brexit trade deals, says the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee in a report on the free trade agreement with Australia.

Australian cow sign. Credit: Richard Pantling | Pexels

Australian cow sign. Credit: Richard Pantling | Pexels

The committee’s report echoes the chair of the Trade and Agriculture Committee with the view that the Australia free trade deal does not prevent core standards being adopted in the future.

It found that it was unlikely that low standard food would enter the UK because of this deal, however it also argued that committing to standards - eg on deforestation and beef growth hormones – ahead of negotiations would strengthen the hand of UK negotiators.

It said it was disappointed that the deal did not include more far-reaching provisions on animal welfare, which would have shown greater international leadership by the UK in this area.

The report calls on the Government to help the UK farming and food sector by making up the £278m loss the government itself estimates the sector will experience as a result of the free trade agreement, by allocating additional support for exports. It also calls for a plan for how the Government will
resource the Trade and Agriculture Commission as well as a verification system which ensures these bans are being enforced and to monitor animal welfare standards.

The head of Sustain's Good Trade Campaign Orla Delargy who gave evidence to the committee and is quoted in the report said:

"EFRA is the latest in a number of advisers and committees to call for a set of core standards that imports should meet. The public have consistently said they want their food standards protected in law - the question is when will the Government act on these calls? Our food standards should be red lines for trade negotiators and removed from the trade table.

"The UK should not sign trade deals that permit low standard imports into the country or that encourage harmful production methods abroad. Countries whose food systems drive deforestation, nature loss and climate change, overuse antibiotics or leave the door open to increasing numbers of diseases that harm us all should not be rewarded with trade deals."

You can read the EFRA report in full here and a blog with further questions Parliamentarians should put to the Government here

Published Friday 17 June 2022

Good Food Trade Campaign: Campaigning for good trade that benefits people and the planet at home and overseas.

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