Brexit fury: ‘Recipe for disaster’ warning to farmers over ‘rushed’ India-UK trade deal | Science | New

British and Indian diplomats are currently negotiating a new free trade agreement (FTA) with the trade minister in New Delhi. It is believed that an agreement could be signed “within a few months”. In light of this, campaigners and experts have warned that if the government rushes into a post-Brexit deal with India, UK consumers could face a dramatic rise in ‘highly hazardous pesticides’ (HHPs) in staple foods.

As the government aims to double its trade with India, it is likely to face pressure from New Delhi to relax Britain’s pesticide standards, which are far more aggressive than New Delhi’s.

In a new report from Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK) and Sustain Alliance, trade expert Dr Emily Lydgate has warned that staple foods produced in India and containing high levels of pesticides, such as rice, wheat and tea, could reach the UK.

As well as introducing UK consumers to toxic fruit and vegetables, the deal could also risk undermining UK-based farmers, who may be able to compete with cheaper produce from India, it claims. -we.

Talk to Cohen, Head of Policy and Campaigns at PAN UK, said: “Engaging in a hasty trade deal with India would be a recipe for disaster for the UK farming industry, effectively giving agri- Indian industry a competitive advantage at a time when we are asking UK farmers to produce more sustainably.

“Our farmers need more support than ever to help them reduce their use of pesticides and we need to make sure they are not shortchanged in favor of a lucrative trade deal.”

The UK government’s own body of experts has previously warned that a double standard between UK farmers and imported produce threatens to give overseas agribusiness a competitive advantage and undermine the UK agricultural industry.

Given India’s status as one of the world’s largest food exporters, the government has noted that a trade deal could lead to an estimated £10m drop in domestic agricultural production .

Dr Emily Lydgate, environmental law lecturer at the University of Sussex, said: “The Indian government has a long history of lobbying to relax permitted pesticide residue levels and UK negotiators will inevitably face challenges. pressure to weaken national regulations.

READ MORE: Brexit betrayal: UK farmers risk being ‘undercut’ by ‘cheap’ produce

“We have to get the details right.”

In a statement, Cohen noted: “Pesticide regulations are not bargaining chips, they are there to protect people’s health.

“Watering them down to get a new trade deal would create serious public health risks at home while making our farmers less competitive overseas.

“Deals of this size typically take years to close – rushing into negotiations without fully considering the consequences is a recipe for disaster.” has contacted Defra for comment.

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