Trade and Agriculture Commission strengthened remit is landmark moment, says NFU

01 November 2020

The announcement from government (made on Sunday 1 November 2020) to extend the Trade and Agriculture Commission will be hugely welcomed by farmers, growers, and the British public alike.

More than one million people signed the NFU’s food standards petition demonstrating the value people place on British food and farming’s high standards of animal welfare and environmental protection. They were joined by a wide coalition of supporters who all spoke out calling for action to prevent British farming standards from being undermined by food imports that would be illegal to produce here.

The government said “placing the Trade and Agriculture Commission on a full statutory footing will give British farmers and growers a stronger voice in UK trade policy.” It will also see the Trade and Agriculture Commission produce a report on each new free trade agreement, in time for the start of a 21-day scrutiny process, supporting the government’s commitment to maintaining world leading high standards.

NFU President Minette Batters said:

“This significant commitment to primary legislation on food standards, both in the Agriculture Bill and Trade Bill, is exactly what we have been calling for. It is a landmark moment for the people of the UK, for our countryside and the future of the food on our plates."

“This decision means everyone who cares about our trading relationships with the rest of the world – MPs, stakeholders and the public – will see independent expert advice from the Trade and Agriculture Commission on future trade deals before they are ratified.

“More than one million people signing our petition makes it one of the largest petitions this country has ever seen. Together with support from all farming organisations, animal welfare experts, environmental NGOs, politicians, some of the greatest chefs and celebrities in the country, including Jamie Oliver and Joe Wicks, and then backed by the Mail on Sunday’s campaign to save our family farms, has created an unprecedented coalition.

“This all led to my recent meeting the Prime Minster in the House of Commons, where it was clear to me how much he personally cares about this issue. I am delighted that he has led the government to draw a line in the sand and commit to the 2019 Conservative manifesto commitment not to undermine our farmers in future trade deals by ensuring the Trade and Agriculture Commission can report to Parliament and MPs can give proper scrutiny to future trade deals."

“I look forward to working with the government building on our iconic British Brand reputation for high quality, healthy, sustainable British food at home and abroad.”

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