This is an exciting time to be involved in the work of the Department for Business and Trade (DBT). We are the department for economic growth. We support businesses to invest, grow and export, creating jobs and opportunities across the country.
The Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) is an independent expert committee, comprising trade and agriculture specialists. It has an important role to play in the independent scrutiny of new FTAs.
If a new FTA includes measures applicable to trade in agricultural products, the DBT Secretary of State must lay a report before Parliament explaining whether the measures are consistent with the maintenance of UK levels of statutory protection for such products.
This report must be laid in Parliament before the start of the 21-day scrutiny period under the terms of the Constitutional Reform and Governance (CRaG) Act 2010. The CRaG procedure is the statutory process for the scrutiny of international treaties, including FTAs, prior to ratification.
To produce this report, the DBT Secretary of State can request independent advice from any body or person with relevant expertise. The TAC will be one such source of expertise.
In particular the TAC will provide independent advice to the DBT Secretary of State – which will also be laid before Parliament – on whether the measures in an FTA relating to agricultural products could mean a change in our domestic statutory protections, or government’s ability to set those protections, in relation to UK:
- Animal and plant health standards
- Animal welfare standards
- Environmental standards as they relate to agricultural products
The members of the TAC will be experts in their field, selected for their expertise, and will not represent any organisation.
The government’s programme of engagement on trade policy included an earlier iteration of the TAC, whose remit ended with the publication of its report in March 2021.
The TAC was an independent, time-limited body set up to advise on specific questions to inform the UK’s trade and agriculture policy. The new TAC represents an evolution of this body, but has a different function.
Introduction from the Secretary of State
Thank you for your interest in joining the Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC).
The Department for Business and Trade’s mission is to support businesses to invest, grow and export, creating jobs and opportunities across the country. A key part of this is striking ambitious new Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that open up opportunities for UK businesses.
In pursuing this ambition, we are clear that we will not compromise on the UK’s high domestic standards. The independent TAC plays a key role in helping to ensure this commitment is upheld.
The TAC’s role is specific and focused. It analyses the signed text of new FTAs to see if measures relating to trade in agricultural products are consistent with UK domestic statutory protections relating to animal and plant health, animal welfare and the environment. The TAC’s advice is published in full and plays a vital role in informing public and parliamentary debate about new trade deals.
Since its inception in 2021, the TAC has reviewed new FTAs with Australia and New Zealand. But this is just the start. In March we announced that the UK had concluded negotiations to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a vast free trade area of 11 countries spanning the Indo-Pacific, which is home to more 500 million people and will be worth 15% of global GDP once the UK joins.
Other FTAs are in the pipeline too, with countries including India, Canada, Mexico and Switzerland, to name a few.
We are looking for a new member to help the TAC continue its vital work to scrutinise the fine print of these deals and ensure they measure up to the UK’s high domestic statutory standards.
This is an exciting role that will give the successful applicant exposure to one of the most fascinating and dynamic fields around. If you have the experience and qualities needed, we would very much like to hear from you.
Nigel Huddleston MP
Minister of State at Department for Business and Trade
Purpose of the role:
To provide independent, expert advice on whether measures in FTA treaty text – per each member’s area of expertise – may have an impact on UK domestic statutory protections.
You will report to the Chair. Members are appointed for their individual knowledge and expertise, and do not represent an organisation.
The key responsibilities of members are to:
- Support the Chair in delivering the advice requested by the DBT Secretary of State.
- Read negotiated treaty text and provide independent, expert advice on whether measures in FTA treaty text may have an impact on UK domestic statutory protections in one of the following areas: animal and plant health; animal welfare; the environment; international trade law and policy.
- Prepare for, attend and actively participate in meetings as required.
- Contribute to drafting of the advice for the Secretary of State.
- Operate in an independent professional way.
TAC members are leaders in their field, who want to contribute to the scrutiny of FTAs at the highest level and are able to support their views with evidence.
Further details about the TAC, its Terms of Reference and its remit and latest news about its work an independent expert committee can be found on Gov.uk
The TAC currently comprises 11 members including the Chair, Prof. Lorand Bartels (MBE). Other members are as follows: Dr Gracia Marin Duran, Catherine McBride, Jim Moseley, Cedric Porter, Meurig Raymond, Kate Rowell, Shanker Singham, Sir Lockwood Smith, Dr Andrew Swift, Nick von Westenholz.