NFU Cymru has vowed to continue lobbying for binding commitments to safeguard farming’s high standards in future trade deals, following a setback in securing amendments to the Agriculture Bill.
The reaction follows events in the House of Commons last night where the Lord Grantchester amendment to the Agriculture Bill, that would have protected farmers’ high standards of animal welfare and environmental protection, was defeated. The Lord Curry amendment, which would have strengthened the role of the Trade and Agriculture Commission and given parliament greater scrutiny over trade deals, was not called on account of a technical issue relating to parliamentary conventions.
NFU Cymru Deputy President Aled Jones said: “It is a blow that the Grantchester amendment was not adopted by a majority of MPs, nor did they have the chance to vote on the Curry amendment, but NFU Cymru remains steadfast in its belief that Welsh farmers must not be undermined by imported products produced to lower standards than those observed here in the UK.
“We were encouraged to hear so many MPs in last night’s debate expressing their support for those high standards - standards that consumers in this country have come to expect - and we thank those MPs who spoke up in favour of this important cause.
“This ongoing debate around food standards is matter of a huge importance for Britain’s farmers and Britain’s consumers, also. We simply cannot risk any trade scenario which could result in food imports coming into this country that would be illegal if produced here.
“With the Agriculture Bill set to return to the House of Lords, this gives peers another opportunity to put forward amendments that we hope will bring about the changes we want to see - UK farming’s high standards protected and enshrined in law, while also giving more power to the elbow of the Trade and Agriculture Commission.”