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A round up of the big Brexit issues

9th Sep 2020 / By Alistair Driver

Brexit is back on the agenda in a big way, with a number of key issues that could affect the pig sector coming to the fore over the past few days. 

Internal Trade

BorisThe Government is today set to unveil its controversial plans for trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK today. 

There has been speculation, not denied by the Government, that the Internal Market Bill will override the Withdrawal Agreement, agreed last year, in terms of the checks required for goods travelling between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. Yesterday, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis admitted the Bill would break international law in a 'very specific and limited way'.

As well as being hugely significant for the pig sector and wider farming industry as far as internal trade in meat and live animals is concerned, the UK's approach is having wider implications for negotiations over an EU trade deal as talks continue. 

The prospects of a deal being in place by the end of the transition period on January already appear to be receding. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said a trade deal with the EU must be agreed by October 15, claiming that, if it does not happen, both sides should ‘accept that and move on’, adding that this would be a ‘good outcome’ for the UK.

Breeding pig exports

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies has said she is ‘incredibly concerned’ about the future of live exports of breeding pigs after the transition period ends. 

As things currently stand, after January 1, any live animal exported to the EU will have to pass through a Border Control Post (BCP) on entering the EU to enable the correct veterinary checks to be made.  At present, there are no registered BCPs at ports in France, the Netherlands or Belgium – the nearest is Spain. If the French ports do not register as a BCP for live animals, the trade would effectively cease as there are few alternative options. 

You can read more HERE

Meat exports at risk 

ShipThe British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) has warned that £1.2 billion of annual meat exports will be at risk along with thousands of jobs if key Brexit concerns are not addressed.

In a strongly-worded press release, the association said Brexit contingency plans were moving at ‘snail’s pace’ and highlighted what it describes as ‘glaring weaknesses’ in the Government’s export plans.

“With less than four months to go Britain has a woeful lack of infrastructure and people to operate the new export system which if not addressed, will result in massive delays, extra cost and lost orders,” BMPA chief executive Nick Allen said. 

You can read more HERE

'Severe disruption' 

A group of eight industry logistics organisations, including the Road Haulage Association, has warned the Government that Britain's supply chains are at risk of ‘severe’ disruption from new post-Brexit rules.

You can read more HERE

Trade deal scrutiny

The NFU is urging politicians to give Parliament a say on how future trade deals impact British food and farming.

As talks continue on deals with the likes of the US, the NFU wants peers to amend the Trade Bill, which is being debated in the House of Lords this week, so that Parliament will be given the final say on whether to ratify new trade the Trade Bill. 

The NFU also wants Parliament to be provided with independent advice about the impact every trade deal will have on our food and farming standards before it decides whether to accept or reject those trade deals. An amendment to the Agriculture Bill, put forward by Lord Curry in the House of Lords and due to debated next week, would give this duty to the new Trade and Agriculture Commission, which was set up by the government in July. 

To mark Back British Farming day today, September 9, the NFU has published a new report showcasing the high standards British farmers produce to, and how they set themselves apart from the rest of the world.

It highlights how sow stalls have been banned in the UK since 1999, but are only partially banned or there is no restriction at all on their use in most other countries. 

You can read more HERE