The UK Government has launched the long-awaited Trade and Agriculture Commission to scrutinise new trade deals.
The establishment of the commission, which will be chaired by Professor of International Law Lorand Bartels, comes less than 24 hours after the government announced details of a free trade deal with New Zealand.
The Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) will be tasked with providing expert scrutiny on new trade deals once they reach the signature stage, and its establishment was one of a series of recommendations made by an interim commission earlier this year.
International Trade Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said as well as launching the TAC the Government was establishing a new Food and Drink Export Council to work with industry and governments across the UK, while a cohort of international agri-food attaches will work around the world to promote export opportunities for UK farmers.
She said: “I want our farmers and food producers to be positive about the export opportunities that exist and take advantage of booming demand for British exports.”
The UK Government said the TAC will have a formal role to inform politicians and the public about how new free trade agreements (FTAs) are consistent with UK laws on animal welfare, animal and plant health, and the environment.
It said the TAC’s advice will inform a government report which will be laid before Parliament ahead of the ratification of any new FTA and following the signature stage.
TAC chairman, Prof Bartels, said: “I am looking forward to getting started in the role and working with my new colleagues, who bring a wide range of expertise from different fields that will be of great benefit to the commission.
“The commission has an important role to play in the scrutiny of new free trade agreements and it’s exciting to be involved as the UK forges new trading relationships all around the world.”
QMS chairwoman Kate Rowell welcomed her appointment and said: “This is an excellent opportunity to bring Scotland’s perspective to future trade negotiations and further the interests of the red meat sector in a global context.
“I don’t underestimate the enormity or the challenge of the task ahead, but it is a critical time to have a place at the table.”
She added: “As this next chapter in trade evolves, it is a privilege to be in a position to influence decisions to protect and promote the future of red meat and high welfare, environmentally conscious food production in Scotland.”