Agriculture: Trade Agreements

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 8th June 2020.

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Photo of Daniel Poulter Daniel Poulter Conservative, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect on British farmers of any prospective UK-USA trade deal.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The UK seeks an ambitious and comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United States (US) that strengthens the economic relationship with our largest bilateral trading partner, promoting increased trade in goods and services and greater cross-border investment.

An FTA with the US offers significant opportunities throughout the economy, including in agriculture. In a UK-US FTA, we will seek to reduce or remove tariffs for UK exports, making them more competitive in the US market.

British consumers want high-welfare produce – and if our trading partners want to break into the UK market, they should expect to meet those standards. This Government stood on a clear manifesto commitment that in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards. The Government will stand firm in trade negotiations to ensure any deals live up to the values of our farmers and consumers.

All food coming into this country will be required to meet existing import requirements. At the end of the transition period the Withdrawal Act will convert all EU standards into domestic law. These include a ban on using artificial growth hormones in both domestic and imported products. Nothing apart from potable water may be used to clean chicken carcasses. Any changes to these standards would have to come before Parliament.

We have a rigorous and extensive programme of analytical work to understand how best to deliver the best possible deal for UK farmers, consumers and producers from future Free Trade Agreements (including that with the US).

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