HC Deb 08 July 2003 vol 408 c745W
Norman Baker

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how animal welfare informs her policy on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. [122661]

Mr. Mike O'Brien

Animal welfare issues have long been included among the EU's WTO negotiating priorities. At Doha, the EU was successful in ensuring that the issue of farm animal welfare could be taken into account as part of the current Agreement on Agriculture negotiations.

Reaching agreement on changes to WTO rules explicitly to allow countries to limit imports of goods based only on the way in which a product was made (for instance whether the production method took account of animal welfare standards) remains extremely difficult. Many WTO members, developing countries in particular, are highly suspicious of the EU's motives and fear that animal welfare production standards will be used as an excuse for covert protectionism. The EU continues to raise this issue in all relevant WTO for in order to try and build trust and understanding for the EU's position. We see discussions on farm animal welfare in the current Doha trade round as a helpful step to building trust and understanding for the EU's position on broader animal welfare standards.