Retailers, farming unions, consumer, hospitality and environmental bodies have all been included in the membership of the new Trade and Agriculture Commission, the government says.
International trade secretary Liz Truss recently announced plans to form the commission, following months of campaigning from farming and other organisations, amid ongoing fears that future trade deals could allow low quality food imports.
Defra says the commission will be chaired by food safety expert Tim Smith, a former chief executive of the Food Standards Agency, and Tesco Group technical director.
The English, Scottish and Welsh branches of the National Farmers Union (NFU) are represented, as are the Ulster Farmers Union and the Farmers’ Union of Wales. Other members include the British Retail Council, UK Hospitality, and the Food and Drink Federation.
Reporting directly to Ms Truss, the commission will be set up for six months and submit an advisory report at the end of its work.
Responding to the news, NFU president Minette Batters said the commission “addresses a crucial element of a much broader challenge in ensuring the UK’s trade policy delivers a prosperous and sustainable future for UK agriculture.”
She added: “This means securing trade deals that work for UK farmers and consumers, as well as our farmed animals and our environment, and we will continue to work with Parliamentarians so that they have proper oversight of our trade policy.
“All of this will be underpinned by the important work of the Trade and Agriculture Commission in the months ahead, and the NFU stands ready to contribute its technical expertise so that the Commission can do this job as quickly and robustly as possible.”
One area in which the commission will advise the government is trade policies it should adopt to secure opportunities for UK farmers – while ensuring the sector remains competitive and that animal welfare and environmental standards are not compromised.
The commission’s list of members includes:
- Ex-Tesco tech director/FSA – Tim Smith (Chair)
- NFU England – Nick von Westenholz
- NFU Scotland – Andrew McCornick
- NFU Cymru – John Davies
- Ulster Farmers Union – Victor Chestnutt
- The Farmers Union of Wales – Glyn Roberts
- Lamb Farmer – Rob Hodgkins
- Institute of Economics Affairs- Shanker Singham
- Former chief veterinary officer – Nigel Gibbens
- British Retail Consortium – Andrew Opie
- Former Trade Minister – Lord Price
- Trade Out Of Poverty – Tom Pengelly
- Former trade minister and agriculture minister for New Zealand – Sir Lockwood Smith
- UKHospitality – Kate Nicholls
- Food and Drink Federation – Ian Wright CBE
- LEAF – Caroline Drummond