To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that UK dairy farmers benefit from trade agreements and that UK industry standards are retained in those agreements.
Global demand for British food and drink is enormous, because British food and drink is the best in the world. We are an independent trading nation and have already started seizing new opportunities for British farmers that were previously denied to us. Recent Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Australia and New Zealand have achieved complete tariff removal for exports of our dairy products into those countries. We aim to deliver the export potential in international markets by further improving access for UK dairy products, by raising awareness, and by encouraging broader participation in exporting in both scale and variety.
The Government will help our farmers capitalise on global demand and will support companies through all stages of the export journey. Our online platform GREAT.gov.uk, the Export Support Service, Export Academy, UK Tradeshow Programme and UK Export Finance all serve our desire to grow UK exports.
In September last year, to mark Back British Farming Day, Government announced a package of support including establishment of a new UK-wide Food and Drink Exports Council to bring together industry and governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to boost exports from all parts of the UK and building export capability in the sector (especially in SMEs); and the appointment of dedicated agri-food attachés, providing on-the-ground support to unlock and drive export opportunities from strategic locations around the world, covering the growth markets of the Gulf, Africa, South America, and the Asia-Pacific region.
The UK Government has made 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 independent Trade and Agriculture Committee (TAC) recently published their report into the Australia free trade agreement, concluding that the deal reinforces our statutory protections in these areas.