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Environment should take second place to trade, says leaked Whitehall document

It’s been a busy few weeks in the world of trade and food, so we thought we’d round up some stories in case you had missed them.

Credit: pexels-arthouse-studio-4310199

Credit: pexels-arthouse-studio-4310199

Environmental protections should be dropped to secure trade deals, outlined Whitehall officials in a paper leaked to Sky News

Environmental safeguards should also not be treated as a red line when other countries demand they are broken in trade deals, according to the paper drawn up by officials in the Department for International Trade (DIT).

Fears are growing that the UK’s environmental standards could be watered down. The text of the leaked document stated: "HMG (the government) should not refuse to liberalise on products of environmental concern where there is an economic case for liberalisation, or partner interest is so strong that not doing so would compromise the wider agreement.”

Ministers have repeatedly reinforced their manifesto commitment that they will not compromise on the UK’s high food safety, environmental and animal welfare standards in exchange for trade, but there are fears these may be watered down to facilitate trade deals with countries like Australia and Brazil. Earlier this year it emerged that the UK commitments to the Paris Agreement had been dropped from the Australian trade deal.


Australia and climate
Australia, often referred to as a ‘climate laggard’ has announced a net zero pledge but been immediately criticised for failing to commit to a cut in emissions. Earlier this week, leaked documents revealed Australia to have been amongst a number of countries trying to change a scientific report on how to tackle climate change. The countries were reportedly asking the UN to play down the need to move rapidly away from fossil fuels. The leak revealed countries pushing back on UN recommendations for action.


NFU reacts to UK-New Zealand deal
Minette Batters, President of the National Farmers’ Union has accused ministers of ‘questionable economic literacy’ following the announcement of an agreement in principle with New Zealand.

Minette Batters said: ‘The current actions of this Government indicate a level of questionable economic literacy towards the future of our treasured countryside. I’m continually asked by Ministers to think positively. Quite frankly, that is deeply insulting to the farmers who I represent. If you are running a business which could fold because while you raise standards, at the same time your own Government welcomes imports produced with much lower standards, it is offensive to be told by politicians just to smile more.”

You can read her article in full here

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Published Tuesday 26 October 2021

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

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