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NPA welcomes Government Brexit White Paper

13th Jul 2018 / By Alistair Driver

The NPA has welcomed the Government’s White Paper that sets out plans for a close relationship with the EU after we leave the union.

Trump MayThe White Paper, which would still need approval at EU level, let alone in the UK, proposes the establishment of a free trade area for goods, including food and farming products. In order to achieve this there would be a ‘common rule book’ for goods, ensuring harmonised standards. This would remove the need for a hard Irish border.

Parliament would still set the laws and have the ability to choose to diverge from the EU rules, ‘recognising that this would have consequences’.

The White Paper also confirms Brexit will end free movement of people ‘giving the UK back control over how many people enter the country’. But a ‘mobility framework’ will be set up to allow UK and EU citizens to travel to each other’s territories, and apply for study and work.

The Prime Minister insists the close ties to the EU will not prevent the UK driving forward an independent trade policy by ‘striking trade deals with new friends and old allies’. The borders between the UK and EU will be treated as a ‘combined customs territory’ but the UK would be able to ‘control its own tariffs for trade with the rest of the world’ without causing border disruption, the document states.

However, the difficulties inherent in the trade-off between maintaining close EU ties and brokering new trade deals have been starkly highlighted by US president Donald Trump during his visit to the UK. He told the Sun in an interview that the UK will ‘probably not’ get a trade deal with the US, if the plan becomes reality. He said it would ‘probably kill the deal’ as it would mean the US ‘would be dealing with the European Union’ instead of with the UK.

NPA response

NPA chief executive Zoe Davies said: “The White Paper sets out the sort of Brexit trading scenario we have been arguing for – close alignment with EU rules and frictionless trade. That gives some clarity to the industry about the sort of trade deal we are seeking, even if there is still a lot of negotiating to be done before we have a final agreement.

“We welcome the recognition, in the form of a mobility framework, of the need for future arrangements to permit movement of labour between the UK and EU. It is critical that our industry retains access to both permanent and seasonal EU workers after we leave the EU, and we urge the Government to be more explicit in underlining this need.”

NPA senior policy advisor Ed Barker said: “The Government is clear that the arrangements leave scope for new trade deals, while ensuring standards do not deviate too far from EU rules.

“We welcome the Government’s continued commitment to maintaining our high standards of production under any future trade deals.

“We have already built up considerable bilateral trade flows in pork with non-EU countries such as the USA and China – there is no reason to suggest why this cannot continue to grow, even if it does not take place within an FTA. Although full FTAs are less likely with new countries, this agreement does recognize the need to maintain ongoing trade with our most immediate and important trade partner in food products- the EU.”