The Departments for International Trade and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have agreed in principle to the formation of a Trade and Agriculture Commission.
The Commission’s terms of reference will be published in due course, it will not be another quango or regulator and its role will be strictly time limited. Once the Commission has finished its work, it will produce a report in line with its terms of reference, which will be presented to Parliament by the Department for International Trade.
The report, and the work of the Commission, will focus on four areas:
- What policies the Government could adopt in free trade agreements to ensure UK farmers do not face unfair competition and that their high animal welfare and production standards are not undermined
- How best to reflect both consumer interests and those of developing countries
- How the UK engages international organisations to advance higher animal welfare and environmental protection standards across the world
- How trade policy identifies and opens up new export opportunities for the UK agriculture industry – in particular for small and medium sized businesses – that benefit the UK economy as a whole
For the first time in over 40 years, the UK is pursuing its own independent trade policy. Crucially, any trade deal we strike must be fair and reciprocal to our farmers, and must not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food safety standards.
Colleagues in government have been clear on these points and I will continue to champion the interests of our local farming industry.