Major Brexit conference scheduled in Wales

Farmers, processors, retailers and politicians will gather in Wales next week to discuss Brexit and the possibility of the UK leaving the EU with no deal – which the organisers claim is an “alarming potential scenario”.

The Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Production Wales (HCC) annual conference will take place in Builth Wells on November 8, and will take on the issues of European exports and how to plan for the UK’s exit from the EU in March of next year.

According to the latest figures, more than a third of Wales’ lamb products, as well as a significant amount of beef products, are exported; 90% of which is bound for the other member states of the EU.

Wales’ EU trade is worth almost £200 million a year, but HCC says it could be seriously affected by a no-deal Brexit, with World Trade Organisation tariffs of “well over” 40% likely.

The meeting will be chaired by ITV Wales’ Brexit correspondent Carole Green, and will also feature international trade specialist Prof. Brian Revill; HCC chief executive Gwyn Howells; and Tim Render, Welsh Government’s director of environment and rural affiars.

Kevin Roberts, chairman of HCC, said: “As the negotiations have progressed, I’ve said on many occasions that the greatest risk for our industry – particularly the sheep sector – is a no-deal Brexit, where WTO-level tariffs would certainly mean losing vital export markets.

The HCC Conference will offer a chance for farmers and processors to discuss frankly and openly what our industry can do to prepare for various scenarios.

The conference will be held at the Members’ Centre of the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells, and is free to attend. The registration process begins at 2:30pm.