Land organisations react to Brexit trade deal

Land organisations across the UK have responded to the news of a Brexit trade deal that has been reached between the UK and the EU.

The president of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) Mark Bridgeman said:

“Whilst we are yet to see full details of the agreement, it seems clear that many farmers and rural business owners will be breathing a sigh of relief – both in the UK and the EU.

“The EU sells £33 billion of agricultural products to the UK each year, which is almost £20 billion more than we sell to them.

So it was right for the Prime Minister to negotiate hard, but a ‘no-deal’ scenario would have likely been catastrophic for a number of farming sectors and it was vital that a deal was struck.

“If this deal includes zero tariffs and zero quotas for agricultural products, European consumers can carry on enjoying world class British products without any major increase in price.

“But a word of warning: we have seen the importance of keeping trade routes open, particularly between Dover and Calais.

“Trade in perishable food is especially vulnerable to friction at ports – so it is now hugely important that UK and EU politicians continue to find ways to make trade between our markets as simple and low-friction as possible.”

Positive news

Sarah-Jane Laing, chief executive at Scottish Land and Estates, said:

“Most within the Scottish farming and food sectors will view the trade deal with the EU as positive news at a time when the risk of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit was edging closer.

“Scotland’s sheep farmers will be particularly relieved that tariff and quota-free access to European markets has been secured.

WTO tariffs on products such as lamb, beef and seafood may have dealt a critical blow to the future of many businesses in rural Scotland and it was important that this was avoided.

“Seed potato exports being excluded from the deal is a setback to producers and we hope that this is an area where the UK government and the EU can continue dialogue.

“We will be digesting the detail of the deal in the coming days but we should recognise that farmers, food producers and exporters will still need to be ready for the substantial customs checks that will be introduced as part of our future relationship.

“There will undoubtedly be additional costs that businesses will incur, such as veterinary certification, and this much be acknowledged as part of the new arrangements,” she concluded.