I know the Government is committed to ensuring that future trade agreements must work for our farmers and consumers, and Ministers have firmly committed to maintaining Britain’s high environmental and food safety standards in future trade agreements.
Indeed, the Government is determined to see the UK remain a global leader in food standards outside the EU.
The high standards and import requirements, including the use of pesticides that existed before the UK left the EU continue to apply. This is because the EU Withdrawal Act transferred all existing food safety provisions onto the UK’s statute book, including current import requirements.
In addition, our domestic food production and food import standards, including the use of pesticides, continue to be overseen by the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland. Both these agencies continue to provide independent advice to the UK Government and the Scottish Government.
You may also be interested to hear that the Government has launched a Trade and Agriculture Commission, consisting of retailers, farming unions, consumer, hospitality and environmental bodies from across the UK and chaired by a food safety expert. The Commission will ensure that there is close engagement between the Government and the agriculture industry to help inform, shape and guide agricultural trade policy. I welcome that the Government is putting the Trade and Agriculture Commission on a statutory footing and confirming that the body will produce a report, to be laid in Parliament at the start of each 21-day scrutiny period, on the impact on animal welfare and agriculture arising from each new free trade deal.
This Commission will give expert advice to the Government regarding the policies it should adopt in free trade agreements to make sure that our high food and environmental standards are not undermined.