NFU responds to press reports on UK government plans to slash tariffs

Nick von Westenholz_40817

NFU director of EU exit and international trade Nick von Westenholz said: “Farmers will be very concerned to hear that the UK government is considering freeing up access to our market for food produced overseas, especially at a time when they are struggling to manage huge volatility caused by the coronavirus crisis.

"Any concessions UK negotiators give on market access – such as lower or zero tariffs on agricultural goods – must be accompanied by clear conditions on how those goods have been produced. Anything else would represent a clear breach of the government’s own explicit red lines in trade negotiations, that it “will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.

“Furthermore, if the trade deal is going to have a net benefit for farmers as has been promised, the UK government needs to set out clearly what additional access has been granted by US negotiators which will at a minimum compensate for the loss of market at home.

“We’ve long argued that any trade deals signed by the UK must ensure that agri-food imports are produced to at least equivalent environmental, animal welfare, and food safety standards as those required of producers in the UK.

"This is not simply an issue of fairness to our farmers, who have to meet high and costly production standards, but is also vital if the UK is to show international leadership in promoting high standards of farming across the world.”

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