The National Farmers Union (NFU) has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging him to urgently review the UK’s no-deal trade tariffs, and calling for a smooth and orderly Brexit.
Under the current no-deal applied trade tariffs, the UK would be forced to trade on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, meaning that UK farmers would face higher fees on exports, such as 48 per cent on lamb and 84 per cent on beef.
As NFU President Minette Batters points out in the letter, a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster for British farming, saying that the tariff treatment of both imports and exports is of particular concern, as lower or no tariffs on imports into the UK will put further pressure on domestic producer prices.
Ms Batters added that there is also the risk that without the maintenance of tariff protections, there would be a danger of opening up the UK to imported food which would not meet the current food standards.
Among other requests, the NFU wants the Prime Minister to ensure detailed arrangements are in place for robust and timely market monitoring so that the UK can understand the impact of the tariff regime and enable remedial action adjusting tariffs if necessary.
As Ms Batters said, safeguarding the UK’s food producers and domestic food supply has never been more important. She added that leaving the EU, the UK’s closest trading partner, in a smooth and orderly way is vital to allow farm businesses to have a viable and sustainable future.