Thursday 21 October 2021 / 4:15 PM Emily Thornberry / International Trade / Luke Pollard

Labour condemns ‘broken promises’ over role of Trade and Agriculture Commission

Labour condemns ‘broken promises’ over role of Trade and Agriculture Commission

The Government has ignored the former Trade and Agriculture Commission’s most important recommendation, and stripped the new Commission of its most important role, members of Labour’s Shadow Cabinet said today.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) today published its official response to March’s report from the interim Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC), and appointed the new members of the TAC in its permanent, statutory form.

However, the DIT rejected the TAC’s recommendation to establish a framework of UK standards which imported goods would have to meet to benefit from zero tariff trade deals, and have scaled back the remit of the new TAC so it will no longer assess the impact of the government’s proposed trade deals on the competitiveness of the UK farming industry.

Emily Thornberry MP, Labour’s Shadow Trade Secretary, responding to the announcements, said:

“The deals the government has agreed in principle on agricultural tariffs with Australia and New Zealand will damage jobs and growth in our farming communities, undercut the competitiveness of our farmers, and undermine the standards they are required to maintain.

“In other words, these deals are exactly what the Trade and Agriculture Commission was set up to prevent, if the government would only let them do their job. Our farming communities were repeatedly promised last year that the TAC would act as their voice when assessing the government’s trade deals, but those promises have today been broken.”

Luke Pollard MP, Labour’s Shadow DEFRA Secretary, added:

“British farmers already feel betrayed by Ministers over labour shortages. Crops are rotting in the fields, they are having to have healthy pigs put down and wasted, and we have gaps on supermarket shelves. The Government’s response is to break a promise to our farmers that they won’t be undercut in future trade deals. The Tories are deserting rural communities.”