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Hopefully some good news of food standards

June 30, 2020 2:56 PM

mmbx (Thanks to Etienne Girardet for sharing their work on Unsplash.)Liz Truss the Trade Secretary has conceded to demands to set up a commission to scrutinise post-Brexit trade deals amid growing pressure to rule out cheap US food being imported to the UK.

The trade secretary said the new trade and agriculture commission would set out "advisory" recommendations to ensure British farmers "do not face unfair competition and that their high animal welfare and production standards are not undermined".

It comes amid growing concern about the possibility of chlorinated chicken or hormone-fed beef being permitted for import to the UK as part of a free trade deal with Donald Trump's America, something we drew attention to in May see here

Truss's concession comes after 18 months of pressure led by the National Farmers Union, which welcomed the move but stressed that MPs' must be given a stronger role overseeing trade deals

NFU President Minette 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.

Responding to news that the Government will establish a new Trade and Agriculture Commission, Liberal Democrat Food and Rural Affairs spokesperson Tim Farron said:

On the face of it this is a very welcome concession from the Government and is thanks to the brilliant campaign run by the NFU that we've been proud to support.

However, the announcement contained no details about how this new commission will operate or how Parliament will be able to properly scrutinise any new trade deal and the effect it will have on our world-class food, animal welfare and environmental standards.

This new body must be a watchdog with teeth that will prevent the Conservatives undermining British farmers, instead of a lapdog that provides cover for the Tories to sell us out in future trade deals.