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30 November 2016 08:40:36 |Meat Processing,News,Supermarkets

Cheap food imports post-Brexit a 'cause for concern' among farmers, FUW warns

FUW president Glyn Roberts said there was 'significant concern' regarding dairy, beef and lamb sectors post-Brexit

FUW president Glyn Roberts said there was 'significant concern' regarding dairy, beef and lamb sectors post-Brexit

Proposals by senior politicians to increase imports of cheap food from countries with lower animal health standards are a cause for concern, farmers have said.
The Farmers' Union of Wales said such policies would have a detrimental impact on British agriculture and rural communities. They said there was 'significant concern' regarding dairy, beef and lamb sectors post-Brexit.
FUW president Glyn Roberts said: "The loss of nearby and relatively affluent continental markets, and the degree to which these can be realistically replaced by markets which are much further afield, given the costs, logistics and reality of gaining similar access to alternative, by definition more distant markets is a real concern.
"In addition, if WTO or similar tariffs were to be applied to UK exports to the EU, tariffs for some products would markedly reduce the value of sales to Welsh producers."
Access to EU market
NFU president Meurig Raymond, who had 'constructive and robust discussions' with the Defra secretary on post-Brexit farming, also said 'unfettered access' to the EU market was key and urged the government to place equal priority on the British farming sector.
"We set out firmly that high standards of UK farm production must not be sacrificed in a free trade deal and I was pleased to hear that Mrs Leadsom agreed with us on that. British food cannot withstand a market flooded with imports produced to lower standards, there was universal understanding of this in the meeting.
"We welcomed her initiative to explore new markets outside the EU such as China where she has held talks recently but stressed that retaining key export markets for agricultural commodities, such as those to the EU, is vital for many UK farming sectors."
According to the FUW, post-Brexit imports to the UK should be subject to genuine equivalence in terms of environmental and animal health standards and any agreement which allows free access to UK markets for EU agricultural produce must be accompanied by financial support for UK producers equivalent to the support received by EU farmers.
Tariff-free access to EU markets is 'essential,' particularly for the Welsh sheep sector, FUW said.

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