Food Production Standards: Trade Deals

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons on 15th October 2020.

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Photo of Virendra Sharma Virendra Sharma Labour, Ealing, Southall

What steps he is taking with the Secretary of State for International Trade to maintain British food production standards in future trade deals.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Our manifesto was clear that, in all our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards. We have retained in law our existing standards of protection, and we have laid before the House our negotiating objectives, stating that we will uphold them.

Photo of Virendra Sharma Virendra Sharma Labour, Ealing, Southall

I thank the Secretary of State for his response, but in that case, why did the Government reject the pleas of their own Back Benchers only two days ago to protect our food standards, in line with the manifesto promises they made in December?

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The answer is simple: we have all the powers that we need in law to deliver our manifesto commitment already. As I said earlier, we will use a range of tools, including tariff policy, to prevent our farmers from being undermined by lower standards of animal welfare in other countries, and the sanitary and phytosanitary chapter of trade agreements. We do not need new powers to be able to deliver on our manifesto commitment.