Secretary of state reaffirms food standards commitment

By James Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Liz Truss made reassurances that food standards won't slip in the UK/Australia trade deal
Liz Truss made reassurances that food standards won't slip in the UK/Australia trade deal

Related tags: Export, Supply chain

Secretary of State for International trade Liz Truss has reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to securing high food standards for products coming into the country without undermining UK producers.

Truss has recently been in talks with her Australian counterpart Dan Tehan in order to secure a trade deal worth £500m to the UK economy.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, ​Truss promised that the UK would not lower its food standards in order to secure a trade deal.

“What we will do through this trade deal is make sure we get fantastic British products into Australia at a much cheaper price, which will help drive jobs and growth across Britain.

New markets

“It also gives us access to a fantastic, fast growing part of the world – the Asia Pacific. We’re expecting 66% of the world’s middle classes to be there by 2030, so this is all about creating the jobs and growth for the future and hitching Britain to the fastest growing parts of the world.

However, Truss was questioned about whether Australia’s animal welfare policies were as robust as the UK’s or not, as the two countries’ legal requirements for sheep and lambing practices differ.

She dismissed these claims and added: “Australia does have good animal welfare practices as we do in the UK and of course I will be saying more about that when I announce the agreement in principle.

“I’ve been very clear in all of our trade deals that our farmers with their high animal welfare standards, we won’t allow them to be undermined by unfair competition.

Animal welfare

“But there are other areas, such as the banning of foie gras, that the Australians have already done and haven’t been done in the UK. We need to work with partners like Australia to improve animal welfare standards across the board.”

Questions still arose surrounding about whether the trade deal would favour Australia more than the UK. However, Truss was confident in the deal’s success and encouraged more UK producers to begin exporting to capitalise on the new opportunity.

Currently only one in 10 British companies export – I want to get more of them doing that,”​ said Truss.

“What I want to do is help change the culture so that we get more of our food and drink out to the rest of the world. The benefits of this deal are products like Scotch whisky will see tariffs removed and I believe we can compete.”

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