Agriculture: Competition

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 28th June 2021.

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Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans her Department has to support the competitiveness of British farming in the context of the proposed future UK-Australia trade deal.

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

The historic UK-Australia trade deal agreed by the Prime Minister offers benefits for businesses, producers and consumers across the UK.

It cuts all tariffs on UK exports to Australia, whilst protecting UK agricultural sensitivities and upholding our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards. We’ve negotiated strong safeguards and quotas in the deal to protect UK farmers, while supporting them to grow exports of top-quality British produce overseas.

The deal is a gateway to joining CPTPP, a high standard free trade agreement of 11 Pacific nations. This will create new export opportunities for British farmers to export to these high growth markets. The Government is committed to supporting the sector to capture the full benefits of the market access secured through our international trade agreements. We are working in lockstep with partners like the NFU, the AHDB and the Food and Drink Federation to deliver tailored support on the ground for these farmers and food producers through our Open Doors programme. The Minister for Trade Policy has discussed the agreement with his counterparts in the Devolved Administrations and will continue to do so, including through the Ministerial Forum for Trade. We are also looking at what further export support we can put in place.

The Government is also facilitating agricultural productivity improvements through our domestic reform programme in England. We are putting forward an ambitious package of measures that will focus on enabling investment, supporting innovation, facilitating structural changes, and increasing capability and skills. This includes a package of reforms to agricultural tenancy policy and the legislative framework which will give tenants more flexibility to adapt their business to change as we bring in a new domestic agriculture policy. We are also improving transparency in the supply chain to help food producers strengthen their position at the farm gate and seek a fairer return from the marketplace.

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