The government has agreed to set up a trade and agriculture commission to advise ministers on the UK’s approach to post-Brexit trade agreements.
International trade secretary Liz Truss made the announcement in a letter to NFU president Minette Batters on Monday (June 29).
This follows months of campaigning by the National Farmers Union for an independent commission to scrutinise the government’s proposed trade deals with individual countries.
Earlier this month, a petition calling on the public to back British farmers on food standards was signed by more than one million people.
NFU president Minette Batters said: “I am very pleased that the government is taking concrete action to address the challenges of safeguarding our high food and farming standards by agreeing to set up a Trade and Agriculture Commission, something we first called for over 18 months ago. This is a hugely important development.
“We look forward to working with government and other stakeholders in the days ahead on the Commission’s terms of reference, to ensure that its work is genuinely valuable. In particular, it will be vital that Parliament is able to properly consider the Commission’s recommendations and can ensure government implements them effectively.”
The National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) has welcomed the establishment of a Trade and Agriculture Commission.
NOAH chief executive Dawn Howard said: “As we have outlined in our Vision for UK Animal Health and Welfare, high standards of animal health are an integral part of excellent animal welfare and food standards, something that British consumers expect and support.
“This move is a positive development: not only with the potential to deliver benefits in terms of animal welfare in the UK and beyond but to also support raising productivity, improved sustainability and resilience of UK farms – helping them to capitalise on opportunities for trading internationally and strengthening our food security.
“We look forward to supporting the Commission in matters relating to animal health.”