A proposed extension to the remit of the Trade and Agriculture Commission, putting it on a statutory footing, has been welcomed as a ‘milestone moment’ by NFU Cymru.
UK Government has proposed to extend the role of the Trade and Agriculture Commission past its previous fixed term and strengthened the group’s remit through a new legislative underpinning, giving UK farmers a ‘stronger voice in UK trade policy’. It means the commission will produce a report on the impact on animal welfare and agriculture of each free trade deal the government signs after the end of the EU transition period on January 1st 2021. This report will be laid in Parliament before the start of the 21-day scrutiny period under the terms of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act.
The announcement follows significant lobbying by NFU Cymru and the NFU, spearheaded earlier this year by a food standards petition signed by more than one million people, underlining the value people place on British food and farming’s high standards of animal welfare and environmental protection.
NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “NFU Cymru has made no secret of the fact that we wanted to see a firm commitment from UK Government on primary legislation on food standards, both in the Agriculture Bill and Trade Bill – it is what we have been requesting for some time. This announcement, therefore, is a milestone moment and one that should be welcomed by all those who care about our food, environment and high standards of production.
“The strengthening of the Trade and Agriculture Commission’s remit, and the extension of its term, will mean that the group will be able to offer independent insight and expert guidance on future trading relationships with the rest of the world before any trade deals are rubberstamped. The group’s reports will go before Parliament and ensure MPs have the chance to properly scrutinise future trade deals going forward.
“This a great outcome for the public, one million of whom signed the NFU’s food standards petition earlier this year, and signals just how important this matter is to consumers. I would again like to thank every person who put their name to the petition, along with fellow farming organisations, politicians, animal welfare experts, environmental NGOs and those high profile advocates who ensured there was a loud, united voice on this issue.
“We look forward to working with the government on a bright and prosperous future for Welsh food.”