A long-awaited report that sets out guidance for agri-food trade has been published by the Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) today (March 2).
The TAC was formed in July 2020 by international trade secretary Liz Truss as an independent body of experts to advise the government on how best to advance the interests of UK farmers, food producers and consumers in future trade agreements.
The report sets out principles, objectives and a strategy for the development of a long-term UK agri-food trade policy which promotes liberalisation of trade to positively influence innovation and productivity.
These principles include:
Promote the liberalisation of trade, to positively influence innovation and productivity, and price and choice for consumers.
- Prioritise a thriving domestic agri-food sector supported by complementary domestic and trade policies.
- Ensure that agri-food imports meet relevant UK and international standards on food safety and biosecurity.
- Match tariff-free market access to relevant climate, environment, animal welfare and ethical standards, remedying competition issues arising where permitted imports do not meet relevant UK and international standards.
- Lead change, where needed, to the international framework of rules on trade and relevant standards, to address to global challenges of climate change and environmental degradation.
- Support developing countries in accessing the full benefits of the global trading system.
We should never apologise for our high standards, they are the foundations on which British farming are built.
Responding to the report, Country Land & Business Association President Mark Bridgeman said:
“It is encouraging to see the report recognise that maintaining and further improving our high animal welfare and environmental standards is critical to the future of farming.
“We should never apologise for our high standards, they are the foundations on which British farming are built. The public should be proud of them and Government should not only defend them, but put them at the heart of the UK’s international trade strategy.
“It is inevitable that the sector will continue to restructure post-Brexit, but in farming the line between success and failure is often very thin. So, as we continue our transition away from the old subsidies and towards the new Environmental Land Management Schemes, Government must do all it can to provide certainty and stability to a sector that is determined to feed the nation and beyond, but somewhat weary of never quite knowing the direction Government is taking us.”
Read the report in full here