Welsh Lib Dems back new bill which aims to protect farmers from post-Brexit trade deals
Welsh Liberal Democrats have welcomed a proposed new bill which will protect Welsh farmers from being undercut by food trade deals which do not meet environmental and animal welfare standards.
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Rural Affairs Tim Farron MP proposed new legislation which would require the government’s Trade and Agriculture Commission to assess the impact of any new trade deal on each region and nation of the UK, and guarantee that MPs had the final say on trade deals initiated by the government.
Farron’s private member’s bill comes after concern was raised by farmers unions and the Welsh Liberal Democrats that the Government’s new trade deal with Australia will not include a Welsh-specific impact assessment.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “This Bill is exactly what we need to protect our farmers in Wales. Welsh produce is among the finest and most environmentally sustainable in the world, it should not be being sold down the river in quick deals to try and masquerade failings by the Conservative Party.
“Yet both the Australian and New Zealand trade deals have shown us the lack of Welsh-specific scrutiny our trade deals are going under with concerns that lower standard and cheap meat to flood UK markets and push Welsh farmers out of business, damage rural communities and harm the Welsh language all at the forefront of people’s minds.
“Welsh Conservative MPs are repeatedly failing to use their influence on their own party to stand up for Welsh farmers and producers. Tim’s Bill will be vital as the Government press on to do deals with countries like the US, Brazil and Argentina.
Commenting on his proposals Tim Farron stated: “My bill will guarantee that MPs can act as a final safeguard on future trade deals and ensure that the impact of any trade deal on farmers is properly assessed so we can properly scrutinise it.
“Without farmers we cannot hope to tackle the climate crisis or recover our depleted natural environment. We need to be protecting them, not selling them out for a quick trade deal.
“The Conservatives have failed to ensure that our world-leading standards are not eroded in the new trade deals they’re signing, risking our farmers’ livelihoods.”
The second reading of the bill is scheduled to take place on Friday 14 January 2022.