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Trade Deals: Animal Welfare and Environmental Standards

Volume 704: debated on Thursday 2 December 2021

6. What recent discussions she has had with UK trade partners on inserting clauses on (a) animal welfare and (b) environmental standards into future trade deals. (904523)

Oh, that question is for me as well—thank you, Mr Speaker. I am delighted with the interest from Opposition Members in trade matters.

Her Majesty’s Government share the British public’s high regard for animal welfare and environmental standards. We have agreed ground-breaking animal welfare provisions with Australia and New Zealand, including stand-alone chapters reflecting the importance of animal welfare in those agreements. We have secured ambitious environmental chapters that preserve our right to regulate to meet net zero, affirm our shared commitment to the Paris agreement and will help us to co-operate on a range of environmental issues.

My residents in Twickenham are deeply concerned about both the ethics and the quality of the food that they eat, and they have written to me in their hundreds about protecting standards in future trade deals. They also want to protect British farmers, yet farmers across the country, from Cumbria to Shropshire to Cornwall, are being let down by trade deals that threaten to undercut them. If the Minister truly backs British farming and high food standards, why will he not give a cast-iron guarantee to protect them in future trade deals?

I am sorry that the hon. Lady has clearly not been at previous Trade questions. Britain has secured agreement in principle on free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand, following deals with the European economic area and Japan that will maintain Britain’s high levels of environmental protection and facilitate trade in goods and services for those farmers.