Given the complexity surrounding agricultural trade arrangements, the Agricultural Industries Confederation Board, believes a priority in Brexit negotiations is to set the framework to allow a detailed Free Trade Agreement with Europe to be negotiated during a tariff free transition period.
This was the overriding message coming from the AIC Board meeting on 5 April.
“We recognise that agriculture has both complexities and sensitivities, in terms of both imports and exports – which will require time and space to resolve. An FTA negotiation would ensure all aspects are dealt with properly and fairly” said AIC Chairman Nick Major. “We understand there is a willingness from the Commission to adopt this approach, which we believe offers an opportunity to deliver positive outcomes for the sector both within the UK and the rest of the European Union.
“Like many organisations, AIC is engaging widely, not only with its UK stakeholder base (including new contacts where common issues exist) but also with its five European trade associations (CELCAA, COCERAL, European Seed Association, FEFAC and Fertilizers Europe) . On both sides of the Channel we have met with a very constructive and determined attitude that business is best served by a trade agreement which offers continued access to UK and EU markets for a range of products which are of high quality; known provenance and familiar to the customer base. AIC’s Board is actively supporting the maintenance and expansion of this level of contact.
“As the negotiation period begins, we are encouraged to hear from Commission sources of a real desire to negotiate a constructive outcome for agriculture which delivers the mutual benefit business is seeking. AIC aims to do all it can to bring that process to a successful outcome.”