East Anglian farmers have welcomed an essential report that post-Brexit commerce offers ought to solely permit duty-free imports for meals that meets the identical requirements anticipated of UK producers.
The brand new Commerce and Agriculture Committee was launched in July by MP for Norfolk and Minister for Worldwide Commerce Liz Truss, following campaigns by the business demanding that imports of low cost, high quality meals decrease requirements are usually not allowed to undermine strict environmental and animal welfare requirements.
It has simply printed its report, which presents 22 suggestions for an agri-food commerce technique that balances an “formidable strategy to liberalizing the UK’s import tariff regime”, mixed with safeguarding UK requirements.
The fee says the federal government ought to “search to decrease its tariffs and quotas to zero in commerce agreements over an inexpensive time period”, however this may be “contingent on imports assembly the excessive requirements of meals manufacturing anticipated of UK producers”.
Gary Ford, regional director of the Nationwide Farmers Union of East Anglia, mentioned the report underlines “the tough stability to be struck between making commerce offers on the one hand and safeguarding our excessive requirements in meals and agriculture alternatively “.
“It’s important that the federal government act shortly now to clarify the way it intends to combine the report’s suggestions right into a enterprise technique that works equally effectively for UK farmers and customers,” he mentioned.
“Because the report states, we have to keep away from a race to the underside and something that would set the clock again by requirements.
“This enterprise technique should include a transparent dedication to assist our farmers produce meals to the best requirements of animal welfare and environmental safety, to steer the world in sustainable agriculture. local weather and stay the beating coronary heart of our rural communities. “
The fee was chaired by Tim Smith, non-executive director of meals corporations Cranswick and Pret a Manger, and former director of the Meals Requirements Company.
Its report signifies that environmental, moral and animal welfare elements are more and more shaping shopper decision-making.
“For some, that confidence within the requirements has just lately eroded,” he says. “They appear threatened by the doubtless pernicious impression of signing agreements with international locations whose meals requirements look like decrease than ours.
“Farmers’ unions, companies, civil society, shopper teams and celebrities have aligned themselves to foyer for the preservation of those essential requirements.”
Vicki Hird, head of agriculture at Maintain, a coalition of organizations advocating for sustainable meals and agriculture insurance policies, welcomed the emphasis on defending requirements, however mentioned the tariff proposal “raises various questions. on how and who will resolve what’s equal ”.
She added: “Will the federal government be engaged sufficient to face as much as future buying and selling companions on these points?”