Amendment 6

Part of Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill [HL] - Report – in the House of Lords am 5:55 pm ar 16 Ionawr 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 5:55, 16 Ionawr 2024

My Lords, in moving Amendment 6, I wish also to speak to Amendment 12 in this group. Amendment 6 raises the issue of the displacement of indigenous people severely affected by deforestation resulting from the rush to clear forests for palm oil agriculture. The rainforests of the world are an essential source of carbon storage and provide homes to some of our most iconic species, which everyone is aware of. What is not so widely acknowledged is the effect that forest clearance has on the indigenous people who make their home in the forest. The CPTPP will remove tariffs on palm oil, making deforestation easier. The human cost will be devastating: nearly 1 billion people depend on the forests for their livelihood and 300 million people live in them. This displacement is enormous. An assessment of the impact on these people within 24 months of the passing of this legislation is essential. I look forward to the Minister’s comments.

The World Wide Fund for Nature has identified that two of the 11 deforestation fronts are covered by the CPTPP. These 11 fronts will account for 80% of deforestation by 2030. The Government’s proposed deforestation due diligence only covers illegal deforestation in four linked commodities. The US FOREST Act covers six, and the EU deforestation regulations cover seven, with other countries going further. The UK is lagging behind in this vital area and needs to do much more to protect this dwindling resource. There has to be a more stringent process to ensure that deforestation does not totally destroy the homes of those who are less able to speak up for themselves. A review of the effect on these people is essential.

Amendment 12 is in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Willis of Summertown. She is unable to be present this afternoon and sends her apologies. I have added my name to this amendment, as has the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott. The noble Baroness, Lady Willis, spoke knowledgeably and passionately to this amendment in Committee. The countries which the Government are planning to begin trading with do not have the same stringent rules on the use of pesticides and chemicals as we have. This will undermine and undercut our farmers. It will also put the population at risk.

There are 119 hazardous pesticides banned in the UK which are used in the countries covered by the CPTPP. The border checks which the Government are proposing are not sufficient to be able to prevent goods containing these toxic chemicals from entering the country and the food chain. Some of these pesticides are known to kill bee populations and destroy aquatic ecosystems. The paper border checks which the Government are proposing rely just on documentation. There will be no physical check of goods which may contain pesticides. The Pesticide Action Network found that grapes from CPTPP member countries New Zealand, Chile and Peru may contain 1,000 times the amount of iprodione than their UK equivalent. This is a fungicide linked to cancer. Are the Government really going to expose the population to these toxic chemicals without proper physical checks? A review of the impact within 12 months is again essential.

I shall also speak briefly in support of Amendment 11 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park. This again deals with adequate checks on goods containing sustainable palm oil. This is a vital amendment and I congratulate the noble Lord on bringing it forward. Had I realised early enough that he was putting down this amendment, I would have signed it. Its ethos is Liberal Democrat party policy and something we would definitely have wanted to support.

As has often been the case in the past, a new product is found to be useful worldwide and relatively cheap to produce. There is a rush to produce this product, with little thought given to the long-term consequences of its use. Such is the case with palm oil. It is a new wonder product that everyone wants; it is relatively cheap to produce and grows easily. However useful palm oil is, and however cheap its production, it must be sustainable. Wholesale deforestation in order to grow palm oil is extremely short-sighted, especially as we all recognise the value of the carbon storage capacity of trees. It is ironic that, at a time in the UK when the Government are setting ambitious targets for tree planting, they are also rushing to sign up to trade deals with countries which are destroying their forests to grow palm oil. I fully support this amendment and hope that the Minister will listen to the noble Lord, Lord Goldsmith, and agree to his amendment.