The House of Lords is holding a evidence session today (Wednesday, September 13) to hear from business representatives about how preparations for the operation of the Windsor Framework are going.

Among these will be representatives from the agriculture and agri-business sectors.

These include: Alexander Kinnear, parliamentary officer at Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU); Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability, British Retail Consortium (BRC); and Peter Hardwick, trade policy advisor, British Meat Processors Association (BMPA).

Ahead of the meeting this afternoon Agriland spoke to Alexander Kinnear, who said he will be tabling the issue of livestock movements and veterinary medicines – two issues the UFU has been highlighting since the Windsor Framework was announced.

“We’ve been rounding the corner with veterinary medicines many times, the problem is well rehearsed,” Kinnear said.

“You know, over 50% of product will be discontinued at the end of the current period if there’s not a permanent solution found, and we want to bring that to the attention of the House and Lords.”

Livestock movements

Kinnear will also be addressing the issue of livestock movements to the Lords.

“The Windsor Framework does not enter even to speak about livestock movement,” he told Agriland.

In particular he wants to highlight movement from Northern Ireland to Great Britain and back again. “This is really a concern” he said, “we want to see it resolved”.

“Because of Brexit and because Great Britain is now a third country in terms of Europe, we can’t bring our animals over there decide not to sell them and bring them back without a six-month delay,” he said.

“Speaking with marts in Scotland in particular, the requirements are so onerous and over the top that the trade originally that happened before Brexit hasn’t gone back to levels; that trade is completely collapsed and that will be to the detriment of farms in Northern Ireland,” he contended.

Peter Hardwick from BMPA will also be presenting a full argument to the Lords this afternoon, highlighting what the BMPA describes as the “odd” situation whereby it will be more complicated for British companies sending goods to Northern Ireland than it is for companies in some third countries to export goods to the UK.

ESRI: Increase in cross-border food and beverages trade since Brexit

“This has come about because the new Windsor Framework will launch on October 1, and require British companies to use special ‘Not for EU’ labelling along with a more cumbersome system for certification and checking goods,” the BMPA said.

“Given that these kinds of checks will continue to be completely waived for goods coming from the EU into the UK, it will soon be harder to move products around within the United Kingdom that it will be to bring goods over from Europe.”

Windsor Framework

The Windsor Framework has replaced the Northern Ireland Protocol as the EU and UK’s post-Brexit agreement on the issue of trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Changes are looming for agri-businesses at present; one of these is that from October 1, repacked meat and fresh milk will be individually labelled as ‘not for EU’ when moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Also addressing the House of Lords today on how preparations for the Windsor Framework are going is: Stuart Anderson, head of public affairs at Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Mark Tait, director at Target Transport; and Michelle Riddalls, chief executive, PAGB, the consumer healthcare association.

The Lords will also be seeking evidence to assess government guidance on adhering to the framework.

The first meeting will kick off at 3:15p.m and will be available to watch live or on demand on UK Parliament TV.