Responding to last night’s announcement by EU leaders who have offered to delay Brexit until May 22nd if MPs approve Theresa May's deal next week, NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “While the extension of Article 50 means that Welsh farming businesses will not be hit with the effects of a cliff edge ‘No deal’ Brexit on March 29th, this is very much just a stay of execution unless Parliament can reach an agreement on a way forward. If that agreement cannot be reached we will still be staring down the barrel of a ‘No deal’ Brexit scenario as early as April 12th and that outcome would have catastrophic, irreparable consequences for Welsh agriculture and our rural communities.
“I urge the Prime Minister and Parliament to put their political differences to one side and take advantage of this small window of opportunity to remove all possibility of a ‘No deal’ Brexit. For businesses to have been left in a position of complete uncertainty without any clarity whatsoever for such a long period of time because of the political squabbling we have seen in recent months is, frankly, shameful.
“This week’s Welsh Government Blas Cymru/Taste Wales event highlighted that in 2018 73% of Welsh food and drink exports worth nearly £400m went to Europe and indeed there were over 30 buyers from the continent in attendance at the event. This just proves, even in this period of great uncertainty, that there is still a strong appetite for Welsh produce from our European friends. It is vital that we maintain free and frictionless access to this important export market.
“I cannot overstate how damaging a ‘No deal’ Brexit would be for the Welsh food and farming sector. The tariff announcement last week brought into sharp focus the impact of tariffs on many of the goods we export to the EU, while producers in the Welsh egg, cereals and horticulture sectors will be horrified to see the lack of protection afforded to them to defend them against imports. Once and for all we need Parliament to act in the best interests of businesses, jobs and our rural communities and reach an agreement that finally puts the very real threat of ‘No deal’ to rest.”
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