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NPA discusses importance of Irish cross border trade

3rd May 2018 / By Alistair Driver

The NPA has met with farming organisations from both sides of the Irish border to discuss the importance of maintaining cross-border trade in pigs.

EdBarkerNPASenior policy advisor Ed Barker visited Belfast on Wednesday for talks with the Ulster Farmers Union, the Irish Farmers Association, along with the NFU, NFU Wales and NFU Scotland.  

Two topics dominated discussions – the need to maintain cross border trade in agricultural goods without additional checks and bureaucracy after we leave the EU and the need to continue the cross-border trade in live animals, as Defra considers a ban on live exports from the UK.

Ed said: “I had an excellent meeting with representatives from the UFU, IFA and the NFU organisations. We all recognised the need for farmers on both sides of the border to be able to continue trading freely without additional incumbrance after we leave the EU. It is essential for agriculture that we avoid a hard border.

“We also spoke specifically about the importance of maintaining the current trade in live pigs across the Irish border. It is important to point out as Defra consults on live exports that the vast majority of the movements of pigs currently defined as ‘live exports’ are relatively short journeys between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. There are no grounds whatsoever to ban these movements.”

Postscript: Ed’s work in spreading the good messages continued even as he was travelling home.

“Well, the Irish Hen week(end?) who I was sat in amongst on the flight back from Belfast know a lot more than they did about pork carcase balance in the EU,” he tweeted.