In July 2020 the Government established a Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) to advise the Government on trade policies that will secure opportunities for UK farmers while ensuring the sector remains competitive and making sure that animal welfare and environmental standards in food production are not undermined. The TAC fulfilled its remit and reported in March 2021. Today, the Government have published a response to the TAC’s advisory report, having carefully considered the recommendations detailed within it.
The Government recognise the key principles behind these recommendations which have been instrumental in establishing an ambitious framework for our trade policy development. Our bold approach will deliver world-class trade deals while protecting our domestic interests.
The response outlines a commitment to maintaining high animal welfare and environmental standards for future trade agreements. The UK will continue to use its influence in the international sphere to push for improved environmental and animal welfare, food safety, human rights and labour standards.
The Government’s response builds on the steps already taken to deliver for UK farmers, food producers and consumers as an independent trading nation. Earlier this year, the highly successful Open Doors campaign was launched to help the industry seize new opportunities through trade agreements with priority markets.
The Government are also pleased to announce the launch of the new Trade and Agriculture Commission, chaired by Professor Lorand Bartels. As an international trade lawyer and academic, Professor Bartels will bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the role. The new commission will fulfil a different purpose to that of the original TAC, in line with the provisions debated and agreed by Parliament during the passage of the Trade Act 2021. The new TAC will bring together experts in a number of relevant fields such as animal and plant health, animal welfare, the environment and trade policy. It will scrutinise the UK’s new free trade agreements and assess whether they are consistent with the maintenance of UK levels of statutory protection in relation to: animal and plant health; animal welfare; and the environment. Its reports will be published and will make a vital contribution to Parliament’s understanding of the UK’s new trade agreements, helping to ensure effective scrutiny and demonstrating the Government’s commitment to transparency.
A copy of the Government’s response to the original Trade and Agriculture Commission report has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and has been published on gov.uk.