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Membership of new Trade and Agriculture Commission announced

10th Jul 2020 / By Alistair Driver

Representatives from each of the four UK farming unions will sit on the Government’s new Trade and Agriculture Commission, which will scrutinise future trade deals to ensure UK producers are not undermined.

Liz TrussThe commissopn will also include people representing retail, consumer, hospitality and environmental interests from across the UK. It will be chaired by ex-Tesco director and former head of the Food Standards Agency, Tim Smith.

Among its remit, the commission announced by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss last week following strong industry lobbying led by NFU president Minette Batters, it will advise Government on ‘how to seize new export opportunities, while ensuring animal welfare and environmental standards in food production are not undermined’.

The full list of members announced today is:

  • Ex-Tesco Tech Director/FSA – Tim Smith (Chair) 
  • NFU England – Nick von Westenholz
  • NFU Scotland – Andrew McCornick
  • NFU Cymru – John Davies
  • Ulster Farmers Union – Victor Chestnutt
  • The Farmers Union of Wales – Glyn Roberts
  • Lamb Farmer – Rob Hodgkins
  • Institute of Economics Affairs- Shanker Singham
  • Former Chief Veterinary Officer – Nigel Gibbens
  • British Retail Consortium – Andrew Opie
  • Former Trade Minister – Lord Price
  • Trade Out Of Poverty – Tom Pengelly
  • Former Trade Minister and Agriculture Minister for New Zealand – Sir Lockwood Smith
  • UK Hospitality – Kate Nicholls
  • Food and Drink Federation – Ian Wright CBE
  • LEAF – Caroline Drummond

The Government has also announced more details of its remit:

  • Trade policies the Government should adopt to secure opportunities for UK farmers, while ensuring the sector remains competitive and that animal welfare and environmental standards in food production are not undermined.
  • Advancing and protecting British consumer interests and those of developing countries.
  • How the UK engages the WTO to build a coalition that helps advance higher animal welfare standards across the world.
  • Developing trade policy that identifies and opens up new export opportunities for the UK agricultural industry – in particular for SMEs – and that benefits the UK economy as a whole.
  • The scope of the Commission was agreed after close consultation between farming unions, the Department for International Trade and Defra. It will be set up for six months and submit an advisory report at the end of its work which will be presented to Parliament by the Department for International Trade.

Ms Truss, said the UK’s ‘high food and animal welfare standards won’t be compromised in future trade deals'.

She said: “We recognise the importance of engaging with the agriculture industry and seeking expert advice, which is why we have set up the Commission. We are putting British farming first and giving our producers the best opportunity to export their world class food abroad and grow their businesses.”

Farming Minister George Eustice said: "The Agriculture and Trade Commission will ensure that the UK’s agricultural industry, our support for farmers and our commitment to high welfare standards are maintained."

Mr Smith said: “This Commission will bring a clear-eyed perspective on what is fair and works for consumers, farmers, food producers and animals.”

Mrs Batters said the announcement was a ‘hugely important development in ensuring UK farming’s high standards of animal welfare and environmental protection are not undermined in future trade deals’.

She said it would underpin the challenge of ‘securing trade deals that work for UK farmers and consumers, as well as our farmed animals and our environment’.

A group of organisations covering a range of interests linked to farming and animal welfare, including NPA, has written to the Prime Minister calling for legislation to underpin the commission's activities.