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Massive surge in support for import standards campaign

4th Jun 2020 / By Alistair Driver

The NFU's food standards petition has topped 500,000 signatures, following a surge of support over the past few days. 

NFU petitionThe petition only passed 200,000 signatures on Tuesday, but support has snowballed in the past 48 hours, helped, no doubt, by the backing of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, with the issue of import standards currently receiving an increased media profile. 

You can sign the petition here

The NPA is, of course, backing the campaign. Commenting in the latest issue of Pig World, senior policy adviser Ed Barker said that following the failure of legislative safeguards to be inserted into either the Agriculture Bill or the Trade Bill in May, it remained unclear how the Government would deliver on its repeated assurances to ensure UK food standards would not be undermined in future trade deals. 

“The question that any farming constituent will need to know is: How, other than blind trust, will food standards be protected?" he said.

“We still have no actual idea where its manifesto commitment on food standards will sit and how it will be enacted. The industry does not want to simply rely on Government having our back.”

You can read the full article, which analyses the implications of the latest Brexit developments on tariffs and import standards for the pig sector, here

In a new development, the Daily Telegraph is reporting today that the UK is planning to introduce a dual tariff system that would permit imports of products like chlorinated chicken or hormone-treated beef from the US, but would impose high tariffs on them to help protect British farmers.

This would be a big change, given that US products produced to standards not permitted in the EU are currently effectively barred by EU regulations. The Telegraph also reports that International Trade Secretary Liz Truss wants to go further and gradually reduce these tariffs to zero over 10 years, giving farmers time to adjust.

A spokesman from Ms Truss’s department insisted the Government would ‘safeguard our agriculture sector’ in future trade deals, highlighting the decision to maintain tariffs on key agricultural products.

“We have been clear that in all of our trade negotiations – including with the US in our first round of negotiations – that we will not undermine our high domestic environmental protection, animal welfare and food safety standards, by ensuring that in any agreement British farmers are always able to compete.”