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Government recognises important role of pig industry - Brexit Minister

13th Dec 2016 / By Alistair Driver

A key Minister in the Brexit negotiations has reassured the pig sector the Government recognises the important contribution it makes to the UK economy, ahead of formal negotiations.

David JonesDavid Jones, the Minister for Exiting the EU, has responded on behalf of his Department in response to a letter sent by the NPA to Brexit Secretary David Davis.

In the NPA letter, the association’s chairman Richard Lister outlined the key role played by the pig sector and called for it to be given appropriate protection as new post-Brexit trade arrangements are negotiated.

In his response to the NPA, Mr Jones wrote: “The Government recognises the important role the UK pig industry plays in our economy.

“My Department has begun work to develop Government priorities for the negotiations and we are keen to get input from as many stakeholders as possible. Developing a stable and prosperous relationship with the EU is a priority.

“I understand to your concerns about protecting the UK pig industry so it can compete with its European and global counterparts. I would like to reassure you that the Government will consider all factors carefully as we approach negotiations, as this is clearly a very important issue for UK business.”

Mr Jones' letter can be viewed here

NPA Brexit priorities 

The association has has also outlined its Brexit priorities to Defra Secretary Andrea Leadsom and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

The NPA, along with other livestock organisations, has called on the Government to make access to the Single Market post-Brexit a priority.

It is also concerned about the threat of cheaper, lower standard imports as the UK looks to develop new free trading arrangements and is calling for equivalent standards on imports and for British pork be categorised as a ‘sensitive product’ during free trade negotiations.

Other key NPA Brexit priorities include:

  • Ensure that EU labour continues to be available to the food and farming sectors. An NPA survey highligted how reliant the pig sector is on EU labour
  • Defra should dedicate the same resource and effort into keeping animal disease out as extending export markets, as ultimately the two are intrinsically linked.
  • Defra to involve the National Pig Association in key discussions pertaining to animal welfare post Brexit.
  • Grant funding or tax relief/support (similar to the Agricultural Buildings Allowance) is required to help with reinvestment in new buildings, equipment and infrastructure

The NPA's full Brexit briefing can be viewed here

Brexit uncertainty 

The timing of Brexit remains clouded in doubt, as the outcome of a high-profile legal challenge is awaited.  

The Government appears to be divided on its approach to the Single Market and the extent to we want market access, movement of rules and regulation to remain in place post-Brexit.

Chancellor Philip Hammond recently acknowledged the UK might end up paying into the EU in order to retain market access.

He has also confirmed the UK is likely to seek transitional arrangements as it departs the EU to lessen the impact on businesses.