The UK agri-food chain has called on the government to make free and frictionless trade with the EU a priority in the forthcoming Brexit trade negotiations.
This is one of four demands from a coalition of 36 bodies representing the UK’s food and farming industry, including the AIC; Animal Health Distributors Association; British Society of Plant Breeders and Crop Protection Association from the supply side, alongside farmer, primary processing and food manufacturing organisations. The joint statement is a unified voice from the whole food chain to the government, setting out what a successful Brexit would mean to the sector.
A meeting co-ordinated by the NFU resulted in a united view that a thriving domestic food and farming base is central to the future environmental, social and economic health of the UK, with the country’s agri-food industry continuing to have a critical role in providing a secure, affordable and trusted supply of food.
Delegates agreed four objectives for the UK government as it negotiates the UK’s withdrawal for the EU, establishes its future relationship with the Union and decides EU, and implements domestic policies. These are to:
• maintain free and frictionless trade with our major trading partner, the EU, and secure the benefits of existing EU preferential trade arrangements, at least until government can replace them with acceptable alternative arrangements
• ensure ongoing access to an adequate supply of permanent and seasonal labour
• continue to promote food production through agricultural policy alongside our existing high environmental, health and animal welfare standards, and
• ensure businesses operate under an efficient and proportionate regulatory system that is centred on scientific evaluation and that incentivises innovation and competitiveness.
Above all, the meeting called for unqualified government support for the UK food supply chain and the business of food production, which explicitly recognises its importance in post-Brexit Britain. The sector manages over 70% of the UK landmass that is farmed; providing 3.9 million jobs in industries both pre- and post-farmgate; contributes to two of the UK economy’s big success stories - UK manufacturing and retailing; and provides a safe, secure and affordable supply of food produced to some of the highest health, welfare and environmental standards in the world.
The full statement and list of signatories can be seen at: https://www.nfuonline.com/news/brexit-news/eu-referendum-news/uk-food-farming-sector-unites-to-highlight-impac/