NFU Cymru calls for UK Government to revisit tariff rates

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NFU Cymru has called on the UK Government to ensure that imports of agri-food products to the UK are subject to the same tariffs customs as those that will be applied to exports from the UK.

At Pembrokeshire County Show on Tuesday, NFU Cymru President John Davies will outline why the new UK Government must revisit the applied tariff rate set by the previous government in March this year. 

Whilst NFU Cymru continues to lobby tirelessly for an orderly Brexit, it is clear that planning within the UK Government has dramatically intensified for a ‘No deal’ Brexit. As a result, NFU Cymru has written to the Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns MP to ask that the applied tariffs rates published by the previous UK Government on 13th March are revisited as a matter of urgency. 

NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “When these tariff rates were first published NFU Cymru expressed concern for the impact on many sectors of agriculture with tariff rates either fully or partly removed. This will leave Welsh farmers exposed to the full effects of competition from countries whose standards of production are often considerably lower than our own.

“The applied tariff schedule means a sizeable reduction in tariff rates for incoming beef, poultry meat and dairy products and a complete removal of the tariffs barrier for the egg, cereal and vegetable sectors despite crippling World Trade Organisation tariffs being placed on our exports of these products to the EU. It is also worth noting that special tariff arrangements will apply to imports over the Irish land border, this means that all products crossing into Northern Ireland will have no tariff charged at all.

“We welcome the recognition from UK Government for tariff protection in respect of lamb, which means that lamb imported into the UK faces the same 48% tariff rate as our exports of lamb to the EU27. However, the picture is a little more complex than that as the majority of lamb imported to the UK comes from New Zealand which will continue to be subject to a generous tariff free quota.”

Mr Davies continued: “NFU Cymru is of the view that tariffs on agri-food products should be levied on a reciprocal basis, that is to say the tariff charged by the UK on goods entering the country matches the tariff charged on our exports of such goods. We have requested, through Secretary of State Alun Cairns MP, that these tariff rates are urgently reviewed with a view to ensuring that tariffs are applied on a reciprocal basis to provide some level of protection to the world leading standards our farmers adhere to here in Wales and throughout the rest of the UK.

“We continue to ask that all our MPs work tirelessly for a Brexit agreement and avert a ‘No deal’ at all costs. Walking away overnight from a trade policy, founded in almost half a century of participation in the single market and replaced with a trade policy based on WTO tariffs for our exports, and a flood of reduced and tariff free imports, produced to standards that would be illegal in this country, would have devastating consequences for Welsh farming and our rural communities.”  

Last edited: 10:32 on 13 August 2019

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