Coalition urges UK government to clarify Brexit food trade and standards
The letter was authored by Minette Batters, President of the NFU, and was signed by over 60 groups, including the Soil Association, British Poultry Council, RSPB, RSPCA, National trust, Greenpeace UK, the Food Ethics Council and the British Beef Association.
The National Farmer’s Union (NFU) has mobilised a coalition of farming, environmental, animal welfare and public health organisations and have written a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson about post-Brexit food trade and standards.
Sent to coincide with the passing of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill which has now had Royal Assent, some of the key points in the letter are as followed:
- “Without the right domestic policy, supported by a progressive and ambitious trade policy, no one will realise the shared vision of a sustainable, carbon-neutral and fair farming system after Brexit
- “Although we are reassured that government is as committed as us to making the UK a world leader in food, farming and environmental standards, we also recognise that this is a complex issue that goes beyond just the negotiating position of the UK government in any potential trade deals, and that there will be intense pressure on British negotiators to make significant concessions on this issue
- “The UK will also need to consider how it manages its trading relationships outside the terms of bilateral trade deals – we must have more than just verbal assurances to ensure our standards are properly safeguarded
- “The government should enshrine its manifesto commitment in law. The Agriculture Bill provides a good opportunity to do so for some key standards. We would be pleased to work with the government to draft legislative provisions that meet the government’s commitment to safeguard standards while allowing sufficient flexibility to conduct meaningful trade negotiations
- “Secretary of State for Defra, Michael Gove, committed to establishing a trade and standards commission. A body such as this could undertake such a role, bringing together a wide variety of stakeholders to engage on the UK’s trade policy and how it affects our standards
- “Brexit means the UK can show leadership in pioneering a new type of global trading system; one that moves away from the narrow and dated focus on ever cheaper goods, regardless of how they are produced, to one that rises to the challenges of climate change and promotes more sustainable models of production and consumption across the world
- “With the enactment of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill and our formal departure from the EU just days away, we believe these measures must be pursued as a priority.”
A full list of the signatories and the full letter can be found on the NFU website.