Ynys Môn MP Virginia Crosbie told MPs this week that the island’s farmers welcome the UK joining a trans-pacific trade partnership but not at the expense of lower standard food imports.
The UK has applied to join The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – a trade agreement among Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
The partnership covers 500 million people and 13% of the world’s income.
Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, Virginia said: “As the MP for a rural constituency, with its large farming community, I am keen to see the UK develop its trade partnerships across the globe, outside the constraints of the EU.
“The CPTPP will offer my farmers opportunities to export more British food overseas, in particular from the beef, sheep and dairy sectors, which are the mainstay of many farmers on Anglesey—for Rob and Kim Evans, Brian Bown and Trevor Lloyd.
“The CPTPP offers a wealth of opportunity across the Asian, American and Australasian continents, with potentially lucrative markets for our produce: dairy products—cheeses in particular—to Canada and Australia; pork and poultry to Vietnam; beef to Japan; and mutton to Malaysia.
“My discussions with the National Farmers Union and the Farmers Union of Wales highlight the value that is placed on the quality of British produce overseas, particularly in markets where food safety is a key consumer concern.”
Virginia explained that the UK’s food is safe, traceable and audited and the country has high animal welfare standards.
But she added that farmers are concerned any potential opening of the UK market to cheaper, lower quality imports from overseas might cause problems.
“They are keen that the Government follows the commitments made at the time of the Trade Bill and the Agriculture Act 2020’s passage through Parliament. We committed then to upholding our standards and not opening the floodgates to substandard products.
She added: “I reiterate that our farming communities are keen to ensure that agreements such as the CPTPP are aligned with the Government’s proposed campaign to raise awareness of brand Britain. We need to differentiate our produce and mark it out as different from the competition.
“By protecting our high standards and highlighting all that is unique and special about UK produce, we can support our farmers as they explore new markets and see our country established once again on a global stage.”