The NPA has welcomed the clarity provided by Prime Minister Theresa May’s weekend Brexit pledge that article 50 will be triggered by the end of next March but has also warned that many outstanding questions remain.
According to NPA policy services officer, Lizzie Wilson, chief among those questions is the future structure of any trading relations the UK may secure with the big pigmeat exporting countries.
Mrs May (pictured above) told the Conservative Party Conference that she wants to give British companies maximum freedom to trade with, and operate in, the single market, and let European businesses do the same in the UK.
She also stressed, however, that the UK deal would not be based on a ‘Norway model’ or ‘Switzerland model’, where non-EU countries have access to the single market but have to comply with EU regulation and pay into EU funds.
The NPA’s Brexit priorities, meanwhile, include:
- ensuring the pork industry is not disadvantaged in trade negotiations. For example, any significant reduction in import tariffs risks exposing UK producers to cheap, lower standard imports,
- ensuring sufficient resource is deployed to fully protect UK producers against imported animal disease, and
- using negotiations on a new post-Brexit farm policy to deliver grant funding or tax relief to help with reinvestment in new buildings, equipment and infrastructure to improve pig health and welfare.
“We will be making the case very strongly that it is not in the interests of consumers or pig farmers to open our doors to large volumes of lower standard pigmeat imports,” commented Ms Wilson.
“The Brexit vote was won on the promise of freedom from the grip of Brussels regulation but we will believe this when we see it. The UK has a record of gold-plating EU regulation so we will be watching this very closely.”