Government under fire over import standards stance as key Agriculture Bill vote looms
By Alistair Driver, Pig World (UK)
October 9, 2020
The Government will face huge opposition inside and outside Parliament to its stance on food import standards under future trade deals when the Agriculture Bill is debated in the House of Commons on Monday.
Government Ministers have made it clear they intend to reject key amendments to the Bill voted for in the House of Lords last month when it comes to a vote next week. But the Government faces mounting criticism from Opposition politicians, some Conservative MPs, a growing number of celebrities, farming, environmental, animal welfare organisations and members of the public, as reinforced by public surveys and petitions on the issue.
Peers voted overwhelmingly to defeat the Government on two key Agriculture Bill amendments intended to prevent imports of food produced to standards not permitted in the UK last month .
An amendment proposed by Labour peer Lord Grantchester requiring food products imported under future trade deals carry a to statement of compliance with the relevant domestic standards was backed by 307 votes, including Conservative rebels, to 212.
An NFU-backed amendment to strengthen the Trade and Agriculture Commission tabled by crossbench peer Lord Curry passed with an ever bigger majority of 107. The amendment would give the Commission – established by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss to scrutinise future trade deals following pressure from the NFU – the power to provide parliament with independent advice about the impact every future trade deal will have on British food and farming standards.
Defra Secretary George Eustice has made it clear the Government, with its healthy majority, would look to overturn the amendments when MPs get to vote on the Bill on Monday.
You can read about the differences between US and UK pork standards of production and what the US pork industry wants from a UK-US trade deal HERE
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