MP says new Commission will ‘protect food standards and exports’

PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:42 07 August 2020

Kemi Badenoch MP

Kemi Badenoch MP

Kemi Badenoch

Saffron Walden MP Kemi Badenoch said a new governmment Commission will ensure high food standards and export opportunities for farmers.

TV presenter Jimmy Doherty has been publicly supporting high food standards after Brexit. Photo: Belle PR/Nick Ilott Photography.TV presenter Jimmy Doherty has been publicly supporting high food standards after Brexit. Photo: Belle PR/Nick Ilott Photography.

The new Trade and Agriculture Commission has been launched by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss at a Whitehall event in Westminster.

Mrs Badenoch said that the Commission will “help the UK agriculture sector to be amongst the most competitive and innovative in the world”.

It is said the Commission will bring together stakeholders across the industry, which will use their expertise to advise on trade policies, as well as on keeping animal welfare and environmental standards.

A spokesperson for Mrs Badenoch said the experts will also help with UK’s engagement with the World Trade Organisation, to improve animal welfare standards worldwide.

NFU East Anglia Regional Director Gary Ford. Photo: Pagepix Ltd.NFU East Anglia Regional Director Gary Ford. Photo: Pagepix Ltd.

In addition, the spokesperson said the experts will help provide new export opportunities for UK’s agricultural industry, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, and will develop policies which will benefit the country’s economy.

MP Kemi Badenoch said: “I recently spoke with local farmers across the constituency and we discussed the proposal of a Trade and Agriculture Commission. I am pleased this Commission has now been launched and will provide expert advice to Government to ensure UK trade policy secures opportunities for our local and UK farmers and upholds our high standards.

“East England exported over £2bn food and drink in 2018 and currently employs 36,000 people, making it vital to our local economy. The Commission will advise on trade policy that will help boost the East of England’s food and drink exports, ensuring our agriculture industry is amongst the most competitive and innovative in the world.”

Earlier this year, TV presenter Jimmy Doherty and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who grew up in Clavering, publicly supported a National Farmers’ Union (NFU) petition to maintain food standards in the UK after Brexit. The petition currently has more than one million signatures.

NFU East Anglia regional director Gary Ford said: “We lobbied for the Commission to be established and it’s a hugely significant win for agriculture.

“As a member of the commission, the NFU will work to ensure British farmers’ high standards of environmental protection and animal welfare are not undermined by imported food that would be illegal to produce in the UK.

“But there is still much to do. While the commission is a welcome step, farmers still face a broader challenge to ensure the UK’s trade and agricultural policies deliver a prosperous and sustainable future for them.

“For example, the commission’s work will be of little value if Parliament is not given a greater say in the deals we reach, so we are supporting an amendment to the Trade Bill that would ensure Parliament has that stronger role.”

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