Friday, December 15, 2017

Industry leaders voice concern over government Brexit plan

February 2, 2017 by  
Filed under News & Business

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Farm leaders will set out their demands for agriculture later this month as the government prepares to trigger the exit process for the UK to leave the European Union.

The NFU says it is on schedule to publish a policy document calling for a fair deal for farming from Brexit. Publication of the document – which follows a lengthy consultation with the union’s 55,000 members – will coincide with the NFU’s annual conference in Birmingham on 21-22 February.

It follows confirmation by Prime Minister Theresa May that Brexit will see the UK leave the EU single market and customs union – as well as the EU itself – giving the government the freedom to secure free trade agreements around the world.

Access to trade

The NFU has already called for the best possible access to trade with Europe – and access to a competent and reliable workforce. NFU president Meurig Raymond said it was vital that a post-Brexit
Britain worked for everyone – which must include the farming sector.

Any changes to the UK’s trading relationship with the rest of Europe or to UK agricultural policy affecting farmers should be subject to a period of transition giving farm businesses time to adapt to any new environment, believes the NFU.

Some 72% of UK agricultural exports go to the EU, with some sectors heavily dependent on trade with EU countries. Of £300m in UK lamb exports, for example, some £290m comes from sales to Europe. At the same time, some 78% of wheat and barley exports goes to the EU.

In a statement, the NFU said it had “legitimate and important concerns” about the government’s intention to leave the single market and strike a free trade agreement with the EU. “As we know, these kind of deals normally take years to conclude and do not cover all products,” it said.

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