With only a few weeks to go before the ending of the Brexit Transition period, NFU Cymru along with a number of other organisations representing Welsh food and drink producers, have written a joint letter to the Prime Minister to highlight a number of key issues that we believe must be addressed immediately.
The letter highlights the vital role that the food and drink supply chain plays to the economy of Wales and our communities, employing more than 240,000 people and with a combined turnover of more than £22 billion. The letter also highlights the vital role that trade with the EU plays to the sector with 73% of our food and drink exports currently destined for markets in the European Union. Around a third of our sheep meat is exported and 90% of this goes to the EU.
The letter makes a number of key asks of government including the need to secure a trade deal allowing tariff free access to the EU market, a six month grace period to be negotiated with the EU to allow businesses time to adjust to the impacts of new rules which will be in place for exports, alongside continued work to reduce the impact and costs associated with non-tariff barriers.
The organisations highlight the critical role that workers from the EU play within our processing sector and the importance of continued access to workers from the EU after 31st December 2020. There is a need for appropriate infrastructure at UK ports to allow the smooth flow of our produce recognising the perishable nature of many agricultural and fish products.
The organisations also highlight the need for financial assistance packages to be put in place ahead of any changes to trading arrangements particularly for the sectors of our industry most vulnerable to being impacted by the ending of the transition period.
NFU Cymru along with the BMPA, CLA Cymru, FUW, FDF, LAA, NBA, LAA, NSA Cymru and RWAS were signatories to the letter.