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Two highly signi cant things have happened this week, both of which will profoundly a ect the future of our industry. Just as it was sinking in that Brexit was no longer a mere talking point, the Prime Minister’s reassurances were lulling us into a false sense of security that, despite our worst fears, things might not be so bad a er all. Surely, Mine e Ba ers’ constant pleading for ‘free and frictionless’ trade must have penetrated the high political echelons of Whitehall? But no, not a bit of it, as unannounced we got our rst glimpse of the Government’s innermost machinations. Up pipes Chancellor Sajid Javid with an article in the Financial Times telling us the UK would not align itself with Europe and that we would seek out our own rules, which the Food and Drink Federation succinctly explained on the Today programme spelt ‘goodbye’ to frictionless trade. is really put the cat among the pigeons and must have sent food exporters and primary milk and lamb producers alike scurrying o wondering what on earth their futures held. But things didn’t nish there, oh no. Going before Parliament was the Agriculture Bill with all its rami cations of removal of direct support and transformation to ‘public goods’. Significant Li le wonder the NFU had dubbed it ‘one of the most signi cant pieces of legislation for more than 70 years’. But what eagle-eyed watchers were searching for is that other tenet of NFU policy, which is the reassurance that goods should not be allowed into this country if produced under conditions which would be illegal here. This bit seems to have gone AWOL from any proposed legislation and the fear is, just like with the the Chancellor’s statement, we could be in for another bolt out of the blue. It’s beginning to look as if our elected representatives wish to swap established ‘safe’ trade with the EU for the ‘richer’ pickings of places such as the US, where, just remember, they recently slapped 25% tari s on some of our foodstu s including cheese. Defra may well have given farmers seven years to adjust to the phasing out of direct payments, but from the Chancellor’s bombshell it looks like we might only have seven months to sort out our trading arrangements upon which the future prosperity of our industry hangs.