- As the 29th March looms nearer, businesses are none the wiser about the future of the UK and EU trading relationship and what tariffs could be imposed.
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The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) has warned that businesses are already feeling the impact from the uncertainty over Brexit. As the 29th March looms nearer, businesses are none the wiser about the future of the UK and EU trading relationship and what tariffs could be imposed. Arable businesses and the wider supply chain are struggling to plan ahead and, according to the NFU, are exposed to risk from a volatile grain market.
NFU combinable crops board chairman Tom Bradshaw has stressed the need for a deal to be agreed to mitigate the impact on farmers, allow trading contracts to be put in place with European buyers and enable the free flow of food products between the UK and EU to continue: “It is no longer a case of business as usual – uncertainty is preventing normal trading practices from taking place today. We rely on simultaneous import and export trade to keep the UK market balanced, and with the vast majority of British grain exports going into the EU market it is essential that this flow of trade is maintained and protected.
“At the NFU’s annual conference last week the Secretary of State outlined plans to protect various sectors of British agriculture from imports produced to standards that would be illegal in the UK, but did not say whether UK arable farmers would be offered any protection.
“Our nation’s cereal production underpins all other farming sectors – from producing biofuels to helping to feed livestock – and its strategic importance must not be overlooked. It would only take the Government putting minimal tariffs on cereals coming into the UK to help maintain balance on our market and offer some protection to UK growers from imports of lower standards.
“And let’s be clear, tariffs on grain have very little impact on food prices. If British grain exports are going to face EU tariffs, it’s not unreasonable for our government to reciprocate and put in place levels of protection for our own growers.”
Image of Tom Bradshaw provided by NFU