Bishop of Exeter asks about animal welfare standards in international trade

The Bishop of Exeter received the following written answer on 17th April 2023:

The Lord Bishop of Exeter asked His Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the differences in environmental and animal welfare standards in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, and the impact of these differences on British farmers, given the UK–Australia and UK–New Zealand free trade agreements.

Lord Benyon (Con): The Government has been clear that any access to UK markets agreed through trade agreements will be fair and reciprocal, taking into account sectoral sensitivities and differences in food production standards. For example, within the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement we secured the exclusion of pork, chicken and eggs from tariff liberalisation reflecting the importance of animal welfare to the UK and the level of trade between Australia and the UK on these products.

In both our negotiations with Australia and with New Zealand, we carefully considered the potential impacts on British farmers and secured a range of different measures to protect them. These measures include tariff rate quotas for several sensitive agricultural products, product specific safeguards and a general bilateral safeguard mechanism providing a temporary safety net for all products.

The Government has published full impact assessments for the UK-Australia and UK-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement’s, which include impacts on the agricultural sector.

We remain committed to upholding the UK’s high environmental, food safety and animal welfare standards through trade. The independent Trade & Agriculture Commission concluded that our agreements with Australia and New Zealand do not undermine the UK’s robust domestic protections. Neither agreement creates any new permissions or authorisations for imports from Australia or New Zealand. All products imported into the UK will, as they do now, have to comply with our import requirements.


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