In response to the Alliance's letter of 24th May 2021, the following letter was received:
9th June 2021
Thank you for your letter of 24 May to the Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, on behalf of the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics, regarding Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and the UK agriculture industry, specifically regarding antibiotic usage. The Secretary of State asked me to respond.
The UK’s reputation for high-quality products drives demand for UK goods, and success in the global marketplace depends on us continuing to maintain this reputation. We are proud of our standards and have no intention of undercutting our own reputation for quality by lowering our food and animal welfare standards in pursuit of a trade deal. Australia has some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world.
All beef imported from Australia must meet the UK’s food safety and other SPS requirements for imports. We already import Australian beef and lamb, and it meets our high import standards. All agri-food products imported into the UK under existing or future free trade agreements will, have to comply with our import requirements, as they currently do, which include clear controls on limits of veterinary medicine residues in meat and other animal products.
We keep farmers and senior figures from across industry, including the NFU, closely involved throughout all trade negotiations as part of our Trade Advisory Group (TAG). This allows us to better understand their views and the impact of each deal on the industry, and can help the industry to capture the full benefits of trade.
A UK-Australia trade deal can open up new opportunities for British farming. British beef and lamb are amongst the best in the world, and global demand for beef and lamb is soaring. A deal with Australia is a gateway to joining CPTPP, a high-standards FTA of 11 Pacific nations, which will mean lower tariffs for British exports to those markets. Thank you once again for your letter.
The Rt Hon Greg Hands MP, Minister of State for Trade Policy, Department for International Trade