Agricultural Products: UK Trade with EU

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered at on 17 May 2024.

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Photo of Stephen Farry Stephen Farry Alliance, North Down

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to negotiate a sanitary and phytosanitary agreement with the EU.

Photo of Mark Spencer Mark Spencer The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) is the world’s biggest zero tariff, zero quota trade agreement, and we actively use its mechanisms to continuously secure improvements to the trading relationship. In particular, the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) chapter of the TCA creates a framework to agree to further trade facilitations, including potential reductions in the frequency of import checks, where justified.

The UK proposed an equivalence mechanism for SPS measures during the 2018-20 negotiations for the TCA. The EU did not accept this.

We remain open to discussions with the EU on additional steps to further reduce trade friction, but these cannot be on the basis of future alignment with EU rules. This would compromise UK sovereignty over our own laws.

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