International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has announced that the Government will introduce a new Trade and Agriculture Commission to scrutinise and make recommendations on future trade deals, following intense lobbying from the NFU and others.
NFU president Minette Batters, who has been calling for a commission to help safeguard UK agriculture under future for a long time, described the announcement as a ‘hugely important development’. The move comes after around 80,000 people emailed their MP asking for the commission to be established.
Mr Truss said she was establishing the Trade and Agriculture Commission after positive discussions with the four UK farming unions.
She said the commission would make recommendations for UK agricultural trade policy, higher animal welfare standards across the world and export opportunities for UK farming.
She said: “I wholeheartedly agree that any trade deal the UK strikes must be fair and reciprocal to our farmers and must not compromise our high standards of food safety and animal welfare. I have been very clear on both these points and will continue to fight for the interests of our farming industry in any and all trade deals we negotiate.”
Mrs Batters said: “I am very pleased that the government is taking concrete action to address the challenges of safeguarding our high food and farming standards by agreeing to set up a Trade and Agriculture Commission, something we first called for over 18 months ago. This is a hugely important development.
“We look forward to working with government and other stakeholders in the days ahead on the Commission’s terms of reference, to ensure that its work is genuinely valuable. In particular, it will be vital that Parliament is able to properly consider the Commission’s recommendations and can ensure government implements them effectively.
“The NFU will continue to scrutinise the progress of trade negotiations with the USA and other countries over the coming months outside of the work of the Commission so that our future trade deals work for British farmers and consumers, and believe it is vital that Parliament is provided a strengthened role in this regard as well.”