Welsh Farmers claim New Zealand trade deal is ‘undermining UK agriculture’
The UK Government has been accused of undermining farming and food security following the announcement of a new trade deal with New Zealand yesterday.
The deal, which has been agreed in principle, will see a big increase in lamb exports to the UK and will ultimately remove all tariffs within 15 years and there are also big increases in the amounts of beef, butter and cheese allowed under the agreement.
FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “The UK Government’s own figures show that the economic benefits for the UK of this deal are microscopic. That’s not surprising given the population of New Zealand is lower than that of Scotland.
“The winners in this deal will clearly be New Zealand as it allows them to up their exports of food to the UK, representing a major threat to Welsh and GB farmers as well as to our food security.
“In year 1 the deal would allow a 30% increase in the amount of New Zealand lamb that can be imported to the UK duty free (i.e. without tariffs), with this figure rising to 44% after five years, followed by further increases and ultimately the removal of all limits after 15 years.”
“This deal, coupled with the Australian trade deal announced in June, leaves little doubt that the UK Government is intentionally or carelessly undermining UK agriculture, food production and food security.
“The removal of farm support and increase in red tape and regulations for UK farmers at the same time trade deals are being struck with countries with far lower regulatory standards adds to this impression.”
Currently trade between the UK and New Zealand is worth just over £2 billion but is expected to grow following the conclusion of 16 months of negotiations.
Announcing the deal yesterday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “This is a great trade deal for the United Kingdom, cementing our long friendship with New Zealand and furthering our ties with the Indo-Pacific.
“It will benefit businesses and consumers across the country, cutting costs for exporters and opening up access for our workers.”