CIEH has welcomed the new report from the House of Commons’ Welsh Affairs Committee into the UK’s new trade deal with Australia and share many of the concerns raised.
The free trade agreement (FTA) between the UK and Australia will be the first major trade negotiated by the UK Government since Brexit. Following five years of negotiations, both countries published an Agreement in Principle (AIP) on 17 June 2021.
The Welsh Affairs Committee's report outlines some initial conclusions, concerns, and recommendations, as the UK Government finalises the Australian trade deal and pursues future trade deals with countries such as New Zealand and members of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).
Key recommendations from the report include clarification on agricultural safeguards, a plan to work with the Welsh Government to improve the productivity and sustainability of the farming and food sector, and a commitment to respond to and publish the Trade and Agriculture Commission’s (TAC) report into the trade deal.
CIEH has previously called for the UK Government to commit to upholding and enhancing the UK’s food and animal welfare standards as part of any new trade deal.
Kate Thompson, CIEH Wales Director, said:
“This is a timely report and we welcome the findings and recommendations.
We share concerns that the UK Government has not responded to the March 2021 report by the Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) which identified a list of core standards that should be safeguarded in future trade deals.
Whilst we welcome the establishment of a new, statutory TAC to ensure future trade deals do not undermine UK standards on food, animal welfare, and the environment, we are concerned it will not be in place before the Australia Trade deal is done.
The new TAC should be given the opportunity to scrutinise trade deals at an early stage and certainly before they are signed.”