Farmers stress importance of EU deal with trade minister

The government's Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena sought to reassure farmers on post-Brexit food standards
The government's Trade Minister Ranil Jayawardena sought to reassure farmers on post-Brexit food standards

Welsh farming groups have raised the importance of a trade deal with the EU at a meeting with Minister for Trade Ranil Jayawardena.

Farmers highlighted that food in non-EU countries was produced to lower welfare, environmental and social standards than those legally required in the UK.

The round-table discussion included Montgomeryshire MP Craig Williams and representatives from the Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) and NFU Cymru.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “We had a good meeting with the Minister and a lively debate around the dangers of allowing cheap substandard food imports after the Brexit withdrawal period.



“I made it very clear that we must continue our trading relationship with Europe and that if we lose that the consequences for our industry would be devastating.”

He noted how the UK recently saw the impact of the overnight closure of export markets on farm incomes and supply chains due to the coronavirus pandemic.



Mr Jayawardena was also reminded of the impacts of BSE in 1996, FMD in 2001 and the collapse in wool prices following the loss of the China market earlier this year.

Mr Roberts said: “It must also be noted that if we do have a trade deal, the domestic policies we apply to our own producers must be developed with the policies applied for our main competitors in the EU in mind.”

Whilst reassurances were made by the Minister regarding food standards being maintained, the groups stressed that incoming food products to the UK market must comply with the same standards and regulations as UK producers.

“We supported Neil Parish’s New Clause 2 amendment and have advised Lords on similar amendments that would have the same effect.

"It is essential that what is included in a trade deal is subject to our standards,” Mr Roberts added.