Government launches ‘strengthened’ Trade and Agriculture Commission

The government has announced the launch of its new Trade and Agriculture Commission. 

The “strengthened” Commission will reportedly protect farmers’ interests in all new free trade agreements (FTAs). 

It comes as a response to the previous Commission’s requests for a balance between a liberalised trade strategy and the safeguarding of UK food and environmental standards.  

The government body is set to be chaired by Professor of International Law Lorand Bartels, who will provide “expert scrutiny” of trade agreements as they reach the signature stage.  

It will reportedly protect the standards of UK environmental protection, food standards and animal welfare, which will be a “red line” in all future trade negotiations.  

The updated commission will also inform MPs and the public on the consistency of FTAs with British agricultural and environmental welfare laws. 

READ MORE: Government ‘confident’ there will be turkeys for Christmas

The organisation will work with UK trading partners to encourage improved environmental and animal welfare standards in food production. 

This will apparently include a commitment to tackling antimicrobial resistance in all future trade agreements. 

The launch is also set to include ‘agri-food attaches’ who will work with farmers across international markets to “promote export opportunities for UK farmers and managers.”  

According to ministers, the administration will launch a new accompanying Food and Drink Export Council in partnership with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to promote exports from around the UK as part of the effort to “level up” the country. 

“I’m grateful to all the members of the original Trade and Agricultural Commission for their thorough and wide-reaching report,” International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said. 

“I want our farmers and food producers to be positive about the export opportunities that exist and take advantage of the booming demand for British exports.” 

Environment Secretary George Eustice added: “We welcome the contribution that the TAC report has made as we consider future trade policy and the approach that we will take to ensure our high standards of food safety are maintained.” 

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