Following reports in the trade and mainstream media, NFU Cymru has sought to clarify its position on the branding of Welsh food and drink exports:
NFU Cymru President John Davies said: “NFU Cymru has always been a brand ambassador for the Welsh food and drink industry worth nearly £7 billion to the Welsh economy. Indeed, NFU Cymru has been the driving force behind the concept of a future ‘Brand Wales’ to help spearhead sales of Welsh food and drink in domestic markets and further afield. As a Welsh lamb and beef producer myself, this is something that is very important to me and I know it is something that our members are extremely passionate about as well.
“We are all aware of the impact that the uncertainty regarding the UK’s departure from the European Union - the closest and largest market for Welsh food and drink exports - continues to have on our industry. One opportunity that could be afforded to us outside of EU membership, however, is the ability to strike trade deals with other nations and the potential to export our world-renowned produce to new markets. Breaking into such markets, however, will not be something that can be achieved overnight. Expert opinion, and indeed history, tells us that these negotiations are very complex and it can take many years and a great deal of hard work to agree deals with new, lucrative markets in other parts of the world. At present trade is a UK Government competency and it is for UK Government to work closely with each of the devolved governments and our levy bodies to satisfy the food safety and health conditions that need to be met to open up these markets. Once access has been achieved, each respective nation should be free to market and promote its own produce and of course NFU Cymru will be championing the Welsh dragon and its brand values of healthy, delicious, environmentally conscious and sustainable produce.
“Wales is home to some of the finest food and drink producers in the world and many of their products are recognised for their excellence with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status. NFU Cymru absolutely believes that we should continue to fully support the development of our existing PGI products which are recognised across the world. NFU Cymru will continue to represent the best interests of Welsh farmers and work with Welsh Government, Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) and industry partners to ensure the best future prospects for our produce and our industry.”