UK chicken could face high EU tariffs: MPs urged to take action to avoid no-deal Brexit

UK - Four UK farming unions, the NFU, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland and Ulster Farmer's Union, have today urged MPs to take all the necessary steps for the UK to avoid a no-deal Brexit, which could see catastrophic impacts for the nation’s food and farming sector
calendar icon 10 January 2019
clock icon 3 minute read

In a letter to all MPs ahead of the meaningful vote on the Prime Minister’s deal, the organisations highlighted the serious implications a no-deal Brexit could have for the industry and urged them to ‘take all the steps necessary to avoid such a departure coming to pass’.

The impacts of a no-deal Brexit for the food and farming sector could include:

  • Huge disruption as a result of an effective trade embargo on the export of UK animals and animal based products.
  • Affected sectors facing particularly high customs tariffs on exports. For example, the effective EU tariff would be 65 percent on beef, 46 percent on lamb and 27 percent on chicken.
  • Impacts on UK production as a result of the government potentially choosing to unilaterally lower the UK’s import tariffs to control food price inflation, resulting in the UK market being open to imports of food produced to standards lower than that produced here by UK farmers.

In the letter, the organisations said: “Brexit will mean that, for the first time in a generation, UK politicians will have direct responsibility for ensuring our nation is properly fed.

“Yet, in the face of this fundamental responsibility, there is a very real risk that a disorderly Brexit will lead to an immediate reliance on overseas imports, produced to lower standards, while many UK farms struggle to survive. The implications, not only for domestic food supply but for the careful management of our cherished countryside, would represent an historic political failure.

“Our organisations remain committed to playing their part in managing Brexit in the best interests of farmers and the UK public in the years ahead, but we believe that leaving without a deal on 29 March will lead, very quickly, to the opposite outcome.

“We urge MPs, in light of the central role Parliament will play in the coming days in resolving this impasse, to recognise the severe impact No Deal will have and to take all steps necessary to avoid such a departure coming to pass.”

Ryan Johnson

Editor at The Poultry Site

Ryan worked in conservation from 2008 to 2017, during which time he operated a rainbow trout hatchery and helped to maintain public and protected green spaces in Canada for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. As editor of The Poultry Site, he now writes about challenges and opportunities in agriculture across the globe.

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