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Free trade deals threaten to ‘undermine’ British farming

The NPA have called for US imports to meet British standards


Alex   Black

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Alex   Black
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Free trade deals threaten to ‘undermine’ British farming #pigfarming #sheep365

UK farming could be under threat from free trade deals with the US and New Zealand following Brexit.


The National Pig Association (NPA) has warned trade with the US could undermine UK pig farmers with cheaper, lower welfare meat.


Farming Minister Lesley Griffiths has also warned a deal with New Zealand would ‘absolutely destroy the Welsh lamb industry’.


The US National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has welcomed Donald Trump’s commitment to a deal with the UK and urged him to start negotiations ‘as soon as possible’.


Lizzie Wilson, NPA policy services officer, called for any imports to meet British standards as part of a future trade deal.

 

Disadvantage


She warned US welfare standards would ‘competitively disadvantage domestic pig producers’.


On US farms, producers use antibiotics for growth promotion, sow stalls and wean piglets at three weeks and under.


“British pork boasts the unique selling points of high standards of animal welfare, whole supply chain traceability and independently verified assurance,” said Ms Wilson.


“As well as contributing significant earnings in its own right, the pig industry is part of a much larger food industry – an industry which can ill afford to have sectors undermined by cheaper, welfare inferior imports resulting from trade agreements with other pig producing countries such as the US.”


NPPC president John Weber said: “We applaud the Trump administration for recognising the importance of free trade agreements to American agriculture and the entire US economy.”


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Welsh farming industry concerned by NZ talks

New Zealand – UK trade

  • New Zealand exported 172,500 tonnes to the EU last year
  • About half of NZ exports to the EU come to the UK
  • New Zealand has a tariff free quota of 228,254t
  • 96 per cent of UK lamb exported went to the EU in 2016

In Wales, Mrs Griffiths told the Welsh Assembly’s Rural Affairs Committee the prospect of a free trade deal with New Zealand was a ‘cause for concern’.


Following a meeting with Theresa May last month, New Zealand prime minister Bill English said he hoped to negotiate a ‘high quality’ trade agreement with the UK.


But Farmers’ Union of Wales president Glyn Roberts said the opportunities for Britain were ‘negligible’.


“New Zealand has a population of about 4.5 million, which is about 1 per cent of the size of the EU, and is 11,500 miles away," he said.


“A free trade deal may be a great opportunity for New Zealand, but the benefits for the UK as a whole are zero, and for agriculture are extremely negative.”


Mr Roberts warned gaining a market of 4.5 million consumers ’on the other side of the planet would not make up for the potential loss of a 500m consumer market on our doorstep’.

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