EFRA Committee calls for standards commitment: Australia FTA

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Goodwill called for a greater commitment to high standards for goods coming into the UK from Australia
Goodwill called for a greater commitment to high standards for goods coming into the UK from Australia

Related tags Import Fta

The Environment Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee has called on the new Government to commit to higher standards for UK food after its ‘disappointing’ response to recommendations for the Australian Free trade agreement (FTA).

Chair Robert Goodwill said the Government the previous Government had not address the committee’s report on the FTA and its central recommendation – that the Government should commit to core standards on issues such as food safety and animal welfare for produce entering the UK.  

There were fears that cheap food made at lower standards would flood the UK, pushing local producers out of the market.  

Letter to the secretaries of state  

A letter addressed to the new secretaries of state for the Departments for International Trade and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Kemi Badenoch and Ranil Jayawardena respectively) reiterated the Government’s previous response had been to restate that the FTA would not lower that standards UK producers have to meet.  

However, Goodwill said this previous response did not ease producers concerns that cheaply made food and drink from Australia would push them out of the market.  

He called on the secretaries of state to review and update the Government response to the EFRA committee report in order to reassure UK producers that their concerns were being listened to. 

Requests to the Government  

Goodwill asked for three things specifically: 

  • A commitment in the Agriculture, Food and Drink Exports Council trade strategy to increase UK food and drinks exports by at least £278m – the expected loss to the sector from the Australia FTA. 
  • To expand the Government’s agri-food Trade Advisory Group to provide it with more expertise on animal welfare, health and the environment. 
  • Provide additional resources to the Trade and Agriculture Commission to produce advice on trade agreements. 

Goodwill also called for the two secretaries of state to work closely together on future trade deals, with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to alert the Department for International Trade at an early stage of difference in regulatory or farming practices that could be harmful to the UK’s competiveness.    

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