Free Trade Agreements: UK Farming Exports

International Trade – in the House of Commons on 18th June 2020.

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Photo of Luke Evans Luke Evans Conservative, Bosworth

What steps she is taking to ensure that UK farmers are able to sell their products into global markets under future free trade agreements.

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

We are determined to remove barriers so that more of our fantastic British produce can be sold internationally. We have now become a net dairy exporter for the first time in recent years. A US-UK FTA can reduce tariffs of, for example, 26% on beef and more than 25% on some dairy products.

Photo of Luke Evans Luke Evans Conservative, Bosworth

Some of my constituents in Bosworth have written to me concerned about food standards. What discussions is my right hon. Friend having with DEFRA regarding the Food Standards Agency to guarantee that the agency is fully supported to ensure and enforce that our food standards are up to scratch in our new trade deals as they come to fruition?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

It is very important to note that we are not going to be lowering our food standards in any of our trade negotiations. British food standards—or certainly those in England and Wales—are a matter for the Food Standards Agency, and it is down to the agency to ensure that standards are upheld. Those standards are also in UK law, transferred as part of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, so they are guaranteed, and the Food Standards Agency is an independent body designed to ensure that they are upheld.