Brexit and Trade
As the UK builds a future outside of the European Union it will create new policies that have huge implications for people, the environment and the food we produce and eat.
Sustain is campaigning to ensure that decision makers uphold good standards in the UK as these benefit people and the planet at home and overseas.
We focus on protecting existing high food, farming and fishing standards, advocating for improvements and reflecting the concerns of concerned citizens, independent or smaller producers and those experiencing disadvantage.
The UK has exited the European Union and the government has been working on various Bills to create new legislation. It has also rolled over quite a number of trade deals, signed new agreements in principle with Australia and New Zealand as well as applying to join the Comprehensive Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The UK-EU agreement has been signed. With the UK now outside the EU customs union and single market, food exporters are subject to many more sanitary and welfare checks and requirements for paperwork. The UK can choose to deviate from EU regulations as it sees fit - but if that impacts trade and investment with the EU, the trading bloc could choose to impose counter measures.
The Agriculture Act requires Defra and the statutory Trade and Agriculture Commission to assess the impact of future trade deals on UK food and farming. Reports will now be laid before Parliament, alongside the text of proposed trade deals, covering the impact of that deal. Advice is supposed to be sought on health aspects too.
The food system in the UK employs 3.9 million people and is worth £113 billion to GDP.
The UK imports over 80% of its fruit and just under half of its vegetables.
If allowed to recover, UK fish stocks could yield 45% higher landings, an additional 2,400 jobs and could be worth £1.4 billion annually to the UK.
The US has more than three times as many approved pesticides as the UK, Australia more than two and a half times.
Antibiotic use on US farms is five times the amount as in the UK. In Australia, the use of antibiotics in poultry is more than 20 times higher.
“Survey after survey shows the public want to maintain the food standards they enjoy. The Government has repeatedly promised the public that they will not compromise on environmental, animal welfare or food standards but has refused to protect them in law. The Government needs to send much stronger signals to trade partners that it will only trade in the high standard produce that UK consumers want to see on their plates.”
Orla Delargy, Sustain Head of Public Affairs
What we're fighting for today
Budgets and regulations to support Agriculture Act schemes on public goods and high welfare farming, with well-regulated supply chains.
Post-Brexit fishing laws to rebuild depleted fish stocks, share rights to fish more fairly, gather data better and secure livelihoods.
The right of parliament to participate in setting negotiating objectives, guaranteed debate time and a vote on deals.
Comprehensive assessments on impact of trade on health, for the UK negotiating objectives to retain the right of the government to regulate in the public interest and to reject Investor State Dispute Settlement clauses (eg corporate courts).
Our Good Trade Campaign aims to put sustainable food, farming and fishing, and good trade on the agenda of decision makers. We advocate for trade that guarantees people in the UK can enjoy a supply of food that is safe, affordable and good for our health, animal welfare, and the environment.
Climate Change Committee chair says trade deals ‘are unfair on farmers and won’t help emissions’
25 Oct 2021
Government responds to the first Trade and Agricultural Commission report and announces new commission
21 Oct 2021