Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has secured a commitment from the International Trade Secretary this week that maintaining UK food standards and the ban on hormone-treated beef would be a “red line” in UK-Canada trade negotiations. The Secretary of State, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP made the commitment in response to a letter from Mr Carmichael highlighting claims from Canadian negotiators that overturning the ban would be their goal during trade talks.
In her letter, the Secretary of State confirmed that:
“[M]aintaining our high standards and protecting the UK’s right to regulate is a red line in all our trade negotiations, as most recently outlined in the UK’s Strategic Approach to the UK-Canada negotiations. All imports into the UK must meet our stringent food safety standards, including the existing ban on hormone-treated beef.”
Mr Carmichael said:
“I am glad that the Secretary of State has responded in no uncertain terms that hormone-treated beef will not be coming into the UK regardless of Canadian trade talks. This is not just a red line for the government but a red line for farmers and crofters – and indeed consumers – who do not want to see our food standards hollowed out.
“The minister really could not have been much clearer and so we have a right to hold her to her word. There can be no backtracking or reinterpretation of this commitment, no matter how much of a priority it may be for our Canadian partners. The government has not lived up to its past commitments to farmers and food producers during negotiations with Australia and New Zealand – they must raise their game now.”