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Trade Policies: Farmers

Volume 692: debated on Thursday 15 April 2021

What recent assessment she has made of the potential effect of her Department’s trade policies on UK farmers. (914108)

We want to sell more British food around the world and help farmers make the most of our trade deals with 66 nations, plus the EU. We launched the Open Doors campaign, which will help our farmers to export to the world’s fastest growing markets.

It is well documented that the food produced by our farmers is world class and demand around the world is increasing. Can my right hon. Friend build on the success of her FTAs, especially with Japan, in opening up markets for Welsh lamb and beef, including the United States? There was success with the United States on beef, and hopefully there will be on lamb. Can she update us in particular on the United States and Japan?

Welsh farmers export £144 million of lamb and beef around the world, and the recent opening of the US market to beef and the Japanese market to lamb will boost the figures further. Last month, I visited Kepak, which is already shipping beef to the US from farms across Wales, including in my hon. Friend’s constituency.

I am sure that the Secretary of State will want to join me in thanking Tim Smith and all the members of the Trade and Agriculture Commission for their final report published last month. Can I start by asking her when the Government intend to publish the core set of standards that the commission has called for, setting out the UK’s minimum requirements for tariff reductions when it comes to food safety, the environment and animal welfare?

I completely agree with the right hon. Lady that Tim Smith and the team produced a fantastic report laying out the future for British agricultural trade, and I am also delighted that she welcomes the recommendations to promote the liberalisation of trade to influence innovation and productivity, and price and choice for consumers. We will be responding to the report in due course.

I thank the Secretary of State for the answer, but it is vital that when this House comes to examine the upcoming trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand, we are able to judge them against that core set of standards. Can I ask her to make it clear today that there will be no proposed reduction in tariffs as a result of those two agreements for any agricultural products that do not meet Britain’s core standards?

Part of the Trade Bill was the establishment of the statutory Trade and Agriculture Commission. For every free trade agreement, it will produce a report on precisely the issues that the right hon. Lady outlines. I am very pleased that our partners in Australia and New Zealand are two countries with very high standards in animal welfare.