I welcome the Government’s clear commitment that future trade agreements will uphold our country’s high animal welfare standards. These standards will not be watered down in pursuit of any trade deal.
Four public consultations were launched in 2018, providing people with the opportunity to give their views (for example, on animal welfare) in relation to how the UK should approach future Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the USA, Australia and New Zealand, and on the UK’s consideration of accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. All four consultations collectively attracted over 600,000 responses - making this one of the largest consultation exercises (by volume of responses) run by the UK Government. In any future potential trade agreement that the UK seeks to negotiate, the government will undertake proportionate consultation.
To provide continuity in our country’s existing trade relationships, the Government is transitioning existing EU trade agreements, to which our country is party, into UK law. As these trade agreements will be transitioned on the closest possible terms as each original agreement, this process will not have an impact on animal welfare standards.
Outside the EU, the UK will remain party to bodies such as the World Organisation for Animal Health, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and others, and will continue to promote improved animal welfare standards internationally.
I understand the strength of feeling on this matter and will ensure that my ministerial colleagues are aware of the views that have been raised with me.