NFU Cymru is relieved that a post-Brexit trade deal has finally been agreed between the UK and the European Union, providing some much-needed certainty for the farming sector.
The EU market remains the UK’s largest and most valuable export market by some considerable margin and the deal agreed by negotiators today (Thursday 24th December) allows Wales’ farmers to continue to send products to the EU27 free of both tariffs and quotas.
NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “We are relived that negotiators have been able to agree a deal and bring to an end the ongoing uncertainty surrounding out future trading relationship with the EU. Given the importance of the EU market to the Welsh farming sector, this deal is vital in maintaining trade with such a valuable export market.
“Whilst we welcome the deal that has been agreed today, we will now need to take our time to analyse and fully digest what has been agreed and the implications it has for our sector and NFU Cymru’s members."
“We also have to be realistic and remember that although today’s agreement will see tariffs and quotas eliminated on the trade in agri-food products between the UK and the EU, as a third country outside of the EU, our exports will be subject to procedures and controls which did not apply previously. These non-tariff barriers, as they are known, are a friction to trade and add to the cost of doing business. All efforts must be now be focussed on working together to find ways of minimising the impact of red-tape and non-tariff barriers on the movement of goods.
“Until we actually move towards the new trading arrangement with the EU in just a few days’ time we cannot know precisely how it is going to bed in. In the short to medium term there may well be some volatility in our sector, and so we need the UK Government to continue to monitor market conditions and be prepared to react if need be.
“I welcome today’s news; it is a great relief to the food and farming industry in Wales. The knowledge that we will continue to have tariff and quota-free access to a market that is the home to nearly three quarters of our agri-food exports, allows us to begin to move forward as a sector and as a country.”