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What does the draft Brexit agreement mean for food and farming?

Sustain responds to the Brexit agreement and comments on the potential implications for food, fishing and farming, and the impact on the environment, health, businesses and citizens.

Photo credit: Pexels

Photo credit: Pexels

Kath Dalmeny, CEO of Sustain said: “Sustain represents over 100 food and farming organisations. Since the referendum to leave the EU our members have been clear; leaving the common agricultural policy represents an opportunity to do things differently and hopefully better. If we do end up leaving the common fisheries policy it increases the risks that arrangements to share stocks with our European neighbours break down. But the UK can choose to re-build our fish stocks and fishing communities if we want to - we can change the way that the UK’s quota is managed to encourage the most economically and environmentally sustainable fishing. However, our members have been equally clear that leaving the customs union and single market could expose our farmers, food producers and consumers to unacceptable risks from low quality trade deals. It would also lead to a hard border in Northern Ireland which none of them backed.

“On balance, it is good news that this Withdrawal Agreement keeps the UK in the Customs Union for the transition period and that there will be mutual recognition of high quality food products. With 40% of our food coming from the European Union, we hope that the negotiators can now come to a future trade agreement that maintains our supply of high quality food and allows for the frictionless borders our own farmers and food producers count on.

“The British population, and the institutions and companies that feed us, need to know for certain that we will continue to have a secure, safe and high standard supply of food, with no serious disruptions. It is not yet fully clear what will happen at borders when food is imported or exported, nor how any delays, shortages or currency fluctuations will affect food prices. Government must be prepared to step in to help the most vulnerable, at a time when 4 million children in the UK are already living in households that struggle to put food on the table.”

Published Friday 16 November 2018

Good Food Trade Campaign: Campaigning for good trade that benefits people and the planet at home and overseas.

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