Blog: Brexit breakthrough: Farmers reassured by new protection in post-Brexit talks –

Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, said that free trade deals with nations such as the United States “must be fair and reciprocal”. Ms Truss, has repeatedly said that Britain will keep EU curbs on produce such as chlorinated chicken after leaving the EU.

She revealed the commission in an attempt to calm anxieties that national farms could be damaged by more affordable imports.

The advisory board will suggest policies to ensure that farmers “do not face unfair competition and that their high animal welfare and production standards are not undermined”, she said.

Farming, trade and food authorities are also expected to analyse consumer tendencies and how Britain can increase its agricultural exports.

The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has been asking for such a commission for 18 months.

The union celebrated the “concrete action” from the government “to address the challenges of safeguarding our high food and farming standards”.

The UK started official trade discussions with the US last month and with Japan three weeks ago, via video call meetings.

Negotiations with Australia and New Zealand are set to commence soon.

Senior Conservatives have voiced their concerns over the idea of agricultural import guidelines being relaxed under trade deals and more than a dozen backbenchers disputed in a parliamentary vote in May.

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Theresa Villiers, the former environment secretary, said up to 50 Tory MPs were experiencing unease over the subject.

She said: “We have legislated to prevent the importation of chicken that has been washed in chlorine or other substances, and I very much hope that stays on statute book.

“But I would imagine there will be significant pressure from the US to lift that restriction because they have had a longstanding dispute with the EU as to justification of that as a restriction.”

Last week Waitrose said that any relapse from current guidelines would result in an “unacceptable backwards step”.

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It added that it would be “simply wrong” to import meat obtained under less strict guidelines than on British farms.

It referred to hormone-treated beef and the “extensive” use of antibiotics as consistent models of US farming standards “well below our own”.

Yesterday Ms Truss promised to “work constructively” with the British agricultural industry to create new export circumstances.

“I wholeheartedly agree that any trade deal the UK strikes must be fair and reciprocal to our farmers, and must not compromise on our high standards of food safety and animal welfare,” she stated in a letter to the NFU.

“I have been very clear on both these points and will continue to fight for the interests of our farming industry in any and all trade agreements we negotiate.”

The Trade and Agriculture Commission would be “strictly time-limited” and its suggestions “should be advisory only,” she added.

Minette Batters, president of the NFU, branded the move as a “hugely important development,” adding that she will certify the board’s work will be “genuinely valuable”.

But critics said the move was “actually unacceptable” and argued it would hinder the opportunities for post-Brexit trade talks.

Matt Kilcoyne, deputy director of Adam Smith Institute, a free market think tank, said: “This commission is a kick in the teeth for consumers and it is a conspiracy by a powerful few against the public good.”

The Trump administration insisted last year that it would aim to overthrow trade differences that “unfairly” stop American farmers from exporting to Britain.

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