NFU Cymru has issued a statement on UK-Australia trade negotiations after media reports suggested a 15-year transition to a zero-tariff, zero-quota trade deal will be offered.
NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “The reports surrounding the UK-Australia trade negotiations – if accurate – are bitterly disappointing and our members will be extremely concerned about the seismic impact that such developments are likely to have on their businesses and rural communities in Wales.
“NFU Cymru is firm in its belief that a tariff-free trade deal with Australia will have a substantial detrimental impact on Welsh farming and will put the future of Wales’ cherished family farms, and consequently the fabric of much of our Welsh life and culture, in very real danger. Regardless of whether these tariffs are dropped immediately or over a longer period, such a move from UK Government will be extremely damaging for a great number of Wales’ beef and sheep farming enterprises.
“I find it hard to understand how the UK Government would agree to any Australian demands for unconditional tariff and quota free access of sensitive products, such as agri-food products. Quite simply, such a move is tantamount to pulling the rug from under the industry here in the UK and, as a major employer and economic driver in rural communities and the wider economy, the ramifications will go well beyond the farm gate.
“NFU Cymru is seeking urgent clarification from UK Government as to the legitimacy of these reports and how the apparent phasing in and safeguards being reported in the UK media will provide any real protection to farming businesses here in Wales and across the UK.”