In an Urgent Question to the Department for International Trade in the House of Commons on the ‘Proposed Parliamentary Scrutiny of Future Continuity Trade Agreements’ Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, asked the following question:
“I am pleased that the Government has strengthened the Trade and Agriculture Commission and announced more robust parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals. And also that the Government has reassured that products such as hormone treated beef and chlorine washed chicken will remain banned in the UK. But would my Right Honourable Friend agree with me that writing specific unacceptable products such as these and other products such as ractopamine fed pork, excessive use of antimicrobials, or use of growth promoters into specific agricultural chapters in trade deals would be a sensible and practical way of ensuring high standards are encouraged globally? And would he agree that this makes it clear to both parties in trade deals that these products are not going to be traded, allowing other acceptable products to be encouraged and thus driving up animal welfare standards globally?”
In response the Minister of State for Trade Policy, Greg Hands, said:
“Can I be clear to him that we remain absolutely committed to our high food safety and environmental animal welfare standards that he and I fought the last General Election on we have ensured that the law offers the protections for the existing standards that they will remain in place under the European Union Withdrawal Act 2018. The products that he mentioned will remain illegal after the 1st January.”
Speaking after the Commons session Dr Neil Hudson MP commented:
“Whilst I am glad that the Government recommitted itself to high food production and animal welfare standards and confirmed that a limited list of certain products will remain illegal after the 1st January 2021, I am disappointed that the Minister felt unable to say that the Government would go further by including specific chapters in future trade deals that would clearly outline which products would be unacceptable to the UK from an animal welfare and food production standpoint.
I will continue to apply pressure to the Government on this issue as, unfortunately, although it is moving in the right direction, it is still reluctant to spell out what exactly we will not accept as part of any trade deals.”