Examination of Witnesses

Part of Agriculture Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:57 pm on 13th February 2020.

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Dr Palmer:

That is also really important when you come to trade, because if we are to sign a free trade agreement with the United States or other countries, we really need to give our negotiators a clear steer on what we collectively are willing to see. If we have an evolving labelling scheme, we have a basis for doing that. As you know, international trade negotiations usually start from the point that each side says what their red lines are and what they cannot move on and the negotiations operate around those to see what is possible. We are keen to see specifications in the Bill on minimum standards for animal welfare—Ministers have said this many times—so that our negotiators can say to their American, Brazilian or other counterparts, “I’d love to help you, but I’m afraid I can’t because it is in the legislation.” That would give farmers and consumers the reassurance that we are absolutely not going to end up with British farming being undercut by what you vulgarly call cheap and nasty imports.