James Heappey MP welcomes launch of Trade and Agriculture Commission

Commission provides expert advice to government to ensure UK trade policy secures opportunities for UK farmers and upholds high standards.

It will advise on trade policy that will help boost the South West’s food and drink exports. The South West region employs 32,000 people and the value of agri-food exports increased by 8.8% in 2019. It is famous for its outstanding cheese and cider.

The Member of Parliament for the Wells Constituency, James Heappey, has welcomed the formal launch of the new Trade and Agriculture Commission, unveiled by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss last week. 

The Commission will ensure our high standards are upheld and our farmers are able seize new opportunities to export their goods abroad. This will help the UK agriculture sector to be amongst the most competitive and innovative in the world.

The Commission was established to bring together stakeholders across the industry, calling on their expertise to advise on:

  • Trade policies the Government should adopt to secure opportunities for UK farmers, while ensuring the sector remains competitive and that animal welfare and environmental standards in food production are not undermined.
  • Advancing and protecting British consumer interests and those of developing countries.
  • How the UK engages the WTO to build a coalition that helps advance higher animal welfare standards across the world.
  • Developing trade policy that identifies and opens up new export opportunities for the UK agricultural industry – in particular for SMEs – and that benefits the UK economy as a whole

International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, said: “We’re stepping up our engagement with all the groups who have an interest in Britain’s agriculture trade policy. The Trade and Agriculture Commission will ensure the voices of the public and industry are heard, and that their interests are advanced and protected. It will advise the government on how Britain can remain a world-leader in animal welfare and environmental standards, and how we can seize new export opportunities for our farmers.

“This is about putting British farming at the heart of our trade policy and ensuring that our agriculture industry is amongst the most competitive and innovative in the world.”

Wells MP James Heappey said: “Agriculture and food manufacturing are hugely important parts of our local economy. We make world class food and drink here and it’s exciting to see the Government creating the Commission to promote our produce into new markets. Likewise, it really matters to our farmers that the high animal welfare and environmental standards that they maintain are protected. It’s great to see that the new Trade and Agriculture Commission will be making sure that those standards are not undermined.”