Amendment to the Agriculture Bill defeated

15th May 2020

The largest certifier of UK organic land, OF&G (Organic Farmers & Growers), has reacted to the first remote vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday 13 May, where the proposed amendment to the Agriculture Bill banning lower standard food imports entering the UK was defeated.

OF&G CEO, Roger Kerr says:

-        Unfortunately, the result of the vote has not come as any great surprise, despite the lobbying that has occurred. However, that does not mean to say we are not disappointed by the result.

-        As we have stated previously, future trading agreements are crucial to Britain’s farming community. Therefore, this is really a missed opportunity to provide clarity around imported food standards.

-        To add to these concerns, it has been reported that International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, is preparing a ‘big concession package’ for U.S. trade negotiators that will dramatically reduce agricultural import tariffs in a bid to clinch a trade deal with Washington. This has the potential to significantly undermine British farmers, although officials continue to insist that standards will not be reduced.

-        The UK organic sector has lobbied for organic mutual recognition arrangements with third countries to be separated from broader trade negotiations. This would allow subsequent changes within respective legal standards and regulatory requirements to be addressed in a timely way, and in isolation to a wider trade agreement (with the subsequent challenges this would create).

-        OF&G will continue to scrutinise developments in legislation and represent the interests of our organic licensees working to safeguard UK food, animal welfare and the environment.