With our large agricultural industry, maintaining food standards is rightly an important issue for Fylde, and one that I want to see maintained as we make the most of the economic opportunities available globally.
The Government has been clear that maintaining the UK’s high standards is a red line in all its trade negotiations. There will be no compromise on environmental protection, animal welfare or food standards and trade deals with other countries will include safeguards for our agriculture industry. These are Conservative Party manifesto commitments and have my full support.
Ministers have taken steps to enhance Parliament’s role in scrutinising the UK’s trade policy. Section 42 of the Agriculture Act 2020 establishes the duty for the Secretary of State to report to Parliament on whether, or to what extent, measures in new free trade agreements are consistent with maintaining UK levels of statutory protection in relation to human, animal or plant life or health, animal welfare and the environment.
An independent Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) has also been established and placed on a statutory footing by the Trade Act 2021. The Commission works to scrutinise free trade agreements and report on how they are consistent with UK law on animal welfare, the environment and animal and plant health.
The TAC's members have expertise in agriculture, food production, animal welfare, the environment and international trade policy. The Commission’s advice informs the section 42 report that is laid before Parliament by the Government ahead of the ratification of any new trade deal.
I can assure you without exception that all animal products imported into the UK under existing or future free trade agreements from all trading partners, including the EU and others, must meet our stringent food safety standards. The UK’s independent food regulators will also continue making sure that all food imports into the UK comply with those high standards.