CLA reaction to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee report Brexit: trade in food

19 February 2018

CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said: “This is an important and timely report. It rightly acknowledges how vital free trade between the UK and the EU is for consumers that benefit from affordable and safe food produced to world leading standards. Whatever exact form the future trading relationship takes, it must result in easy movement of goods and no new tariff barriers. Failure to achieve this will lead to increased food costs, seriously undermine our current agricultural export market, and lead to increased costs for farmers.

“MPs have rightly warned about the consequences of rushed trade deals that see the UK compromising on the rules that guarantee high standards of production, environmental protection and animal welfare.

“They have also signalled the biggest risk of all which is the concept of unilateral reduction in food import tariffs that has been advocated by some as a model for post Brexit UK trade. This would have a devastating impact on UK agriculture, start a race to the bottom for standards and massively increase the UK’s reliance on imported food.

“The report is also right to signal the importance of transitional financial support for the farming sector. Brexit will bring fundamental changes to farming, many of which are necessary and will benefit everyone in the long term. However a planned transition can help to avoid unnecessary and damaging shocks that would see farmers losing their livelihoods and with no capacity to adjust.” 

Click here to read Brexit: Trade in Food