Chris Elmore MP has voiced his fears about the risk of UK Government Ministers reneging on the clear commitments they have made to protect the agricultural industry and uphold environmental standards post-Brexit.
Speaking during the second reading debate of the Agriculture Bill, the Ogmore MP highlighted the concerns that have been raised by the National Farmers’ Union of Wales (NFUW) that key commitments made in the Conservative’s 2019 manifesto are not set to be enshrined in law.
While many farmers and the NFU are calling for farming standards to be upheld and strengthened within any future trade deal with the USA, no such commitment has been written into the Agriculture Bill. Earlier this month, the NFU spoke out to call on the UK Government to ensure that future food imports meet “the same high standards required of UK farmers”. The union has urged ministers to make an explicit commitment within the Bill to allow for a legally-binding assurance that Welsh and other UK farmers will not be undercut post-Brexit.
Speaking after the debate, Chris Elmore MP said:
“The UK Government must not sell our agricultural industry down the river for the sake of a quick trade deal with Donald Trump. We don’t want cheaply-produced foods like hormone-treated beef flooding UK markets, undercutting not only our farmers, but also our food standards.”
The NFU are also keen to develop more sustainable farming techniques that will protect food production, while also helping to make farming more environmentally sustainable. In response to Chris’ intervention, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Luke Pollard MP, reiterated that environmental standards should also not be undermined through a future US trade deal.
“Our agricultural industry is a key part of my Ogmore constituency’s local economy and the wider Welsh economy. While we’re working hard to fight for better environmental standards across our farming practices, we don’t want all of this to be undone by a Conservative Government hell-bent on securing a blank cheque trade deal across the Atlantic.”