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NPA position on Brexit as formal talks begin

19th Jun 2017 / By Alistair Driver

As formal Brexit negotiations begin, here is a reminder of our priorities for the negotiations. 

Brexit talksBrexit Secretary David Davis has been in Brussels today, insisting he is entering negotiations on the UK's exit from the EU in a 'positive and constructive' frame of mind.

The negotiations are scheduled to take two years, with many expecting this not to be sufficient to reach full agreement on the big issues, such as EU-UK trading arrangements. 

NPA chairman Richard Lister recently laid out the association's main Brexit priorities in a letter to new Defra Secretary Michael Gove. 

He said: "Continued trading relationships with established global partners are therefore paramount, as is the need for frictionless trade with the European Union. 

"Even if we are forced to leave the Single Market, retaining membership of the Customs Union remains an absolute priority for my organisation, as it does across the agricultural sector. 

"We are also clear that any trade deals forged outside the EU must include measures to protect British producers and consumers from imports produced to lower standards.

"Our other key Brexit priority is ensuring we retain access to EU labour, particularly permanent staff, without which our industry could not operate as it does today."

From our manifesto - NPA Brexit priorities include:

Trade

  • Tariff-free access to the Single Market
  • If tariffs are imposed on UK pork exports, equivalent tariffs must be imposed on EU imports
  • A transition period if no EU trade deal is agreed within two-years to protect British pig producers from WTO tariffs
  • Government to seek equivalence on health and welfare standards when negotiating trade deals.The UK pig industry has no intention of lowering its welfare standards
  • Pork to be categorised as a ‘sensitive product’ during trade negotiations to protect producers and from cheap, lower welfare imports.

Labour

  • Continued easy access to EU labour, particularly permanent ‘unskilled’ labour for our farms, food manufacturing companies and other allied industries
  • Assurances about their future for EU workers already living here
  • Proper promotion of agriculture as a career of choice in schools.

Support

  • Grant funding under a new domestic agricultural policy or tax relief/support to help investment in modern production facilities that deliver good animal health and welfare and allow farmers to reduce antibiotic use
  • Government support for welfare measures that the market doesn’t pay for, such as straw and free farrowing
  • Investment in agricultural and scientific research to ensure UK farmers can continue to compete with world leading producers
  • Champion the exceptional standards of Assured British pig farmers by ensuring Government departments always procure pork products to equivalent UK standards.

Better regulation 

  • Legislation and regulation must be evidence and outcome-based
  • Planners and regulators must be encouraged to base decisions on relevant scientific information and to exclude misinformation about modern livestock husbandry
  • Extend powers of the Grocery Code Adjudicator to include food processors

Animal health and welfare

  • Better border controls and stricter penalties for those caught illegally importing meat
  • Recognise the threat that the burgeoning feral wild boar population has to the health of the UK herd and our export market by properly controlling numbers.
  • Enforce existing rules about feeding food waste to pigs to protect against major disease outbreaks
  • Sustainably support farmers and vets to reduce, refine and replace antibiotics in a way that does not jeopardise pig health or welfare.

More information

To view our 2017 election manifesto, click here

To view our Brexit briefing, click here

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