The National Pig Association (NPA) has outlined its priorities for the pig sector as formal Brexit negotiations begin.
Brexit Secretary David Davis has been in Brussels today, leading the UK delegation in the start of talks with their EU counterparts led by chief negotiator Michel Barnier. Mr Davis insisted he was entering the crucial negotiations in a ‘positive and constructive’ frame of mind.
Mr Barnier said a ‘fair deal’ was possible ‘and far better than no deal’ and promised to work with, not against, the UK.
The negotiations are scheduled to take two years, with many expecting this not to be sufficient to reach full agreement on the big issues, such as EU-UK trading arrangements, highlighting the importance for organisations like the NPA of proper transitional arrangements to ease the impact of any fundamental changes.
NPA chairman Richard Lister recently laid out the association’s main Brexit priorities in a letter to new Defra Secretary Michael Gove.
He said: “Continued trading relationships with established global partners are therefore paramount, as is the need for frictionless trade with the European Union.
“Even if we are forced to leave the Single Market, retaining membership of the Customs Union remains an absolute priority for my organisation, as it does across the agricultural sector.
“We are also clear that any trade deals forged outside the EU must include measures to protect British producers and consumers from imports produced to lower standards.
“Our other key Brexit priority is ensuring we retain access to EU labour, particularly permanent staff, without which our industry could not operate as it does today.”
You can see the NPA’s full position on the Brexit negotiations, covering trade, labour, support and regulation, by clicking here.