A leading economist has warned the Welsh Government of the dangers of leaving the EU without single market guarantees.
In evidence to the Welsh Assembly’s Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee today (Wednesday, September 28), Aberystwyth University economist, Peter Midmore, told AMs that the most important unresolved question at present was the shape of the post-Brexit trade agreement with the EU-27.
“Single market access would be the best immediate outcome for Welsh agriculture, because physical market logistics are integrated with continental supply chains,” he said.
“However, the current stance of the negotiating partners does not suggest a speedy or completely liberal outcome.
“In the short to medium term, most-favoured nation access to European markets in the absence of any immediate UK-EU trade agreement would, for example, imply a 12.8 per cent tariff, plus €1,713 per tonne for sheep meat exports.”
In that case, Simon Thomas, one of the AMs quizzing Professor Midmore and Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Climate Change and Rural Affairs, advocated membership of the single market as the best way forward for Welsh agriculture.
He said it was disappointing to see Labour AMs vote with UKIP and the Conservatives against membership of the single market in the Senedd chamber.
“Plaid is united around what we think is the best deal for Wales and for our rural communities,” he added.
“Access to the single market is not enough. We need membership of the single market in order to really reap the benefits for the farming industry.”