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Unions warn New Zealand trade deal will hit Welsh farmers hard

13 Mar 2022 3 minute read
Cows in New Zealand. Picture by Sarah Macmillan (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Plaid Cymru politicians and farming unions have warned that the new trade deal between the UK and New Zealand could significantly impact Welsh farmers.

The free trade agreement between New Zealand and the UK Government, signed on 28 February, is expected to lead to a significant increase in the import of meat produce.

Fearing this is likely to hit the farming sector in Wales harder than in any other part of the UK, NFU Cymru has said that the potential negative cumulative impact of the deal cannot be overstated.

Along with the Australian deal, the New Zealand trade agreement stands to create significant marketplace changes for Welsh farming, while offering benefits for farmers on the other side of the world.

According to the Farmers Union of Wales state the agreement could result in the tariff free beef imports from New Zealand rise immediately to 12,000 tonnes, increasing to 38,820 tonnes in ten years’ time.

Similarly, tariff-free imports in the lamb market would increase by 35,000 tonnes per annum in years one to four, then by 50,000 tonnes per annum in years five to 15, after which there would be no limit.

Further rises would occur in the subsequent five years, after which there would be no limit.

‘Gross betrayal’

Speaking in Wales Farmer, Plaid Cymru’s agriculture spokesperson, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS, raised the issue as a matter of urgency with the Welsh government in the Senedd.

Mr ap Gwynfor said: “While the spin will be about benefits, the truth is that this trade deal is a real cause for concern for Welsh farmers.

“The agreement will provide a 15-year transitional period, and it states that they will only be able to ‘utilise new access to the UK sheep meat market once they have filled 90pc of their existing World Trade Organization (WTO) quota’.

“However, this leaves Welsh farmers at the whim of a market whereby they have no control nor input. Should something change in the sheep meat market then New Zealand meat would suddenly end up here or in the EU and undermine Welsh farmers.

“By failing to ensure that there are tariffs on imports here the UK Government have left Welsh farmers completely open to the whims of a market which they have no say and no protection.

Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru Member of the Senedd for Mid and West Wales, added: “Let us be clear, this trade deal is a gross betrayal of Pembrokeshire farmers.

“The UK Government’s own analysis suggests that the number of people working in agriculture will be negatively impacted by this deal, whilst it also threatens to undermine the entire Welsh agriculture sector – which we know is far more susceptible to harm from a poor trade deal than other farmers in other parts of the UK.

“As we face a climate emergency, importing more food from the other side of the world that could be produced sustainably here in Wales, does not make any sense whatsoever.

“Clearly, efforts must now be taken at Westminster to ensure that the Welsh farming sector is safeguarded from the potential negative impact of this agreement.”

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Philip Jones
Philip Jones
1 year ago

Farmers what are your tractors for? What would French farmers do?

1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Jones

French farmers would not have voted for Brexit. “Self inflicted” comes to mind.

1 year ago

Hands up all farmers who voted Leave because it was so difficult filling in a few EU forms. Hands up all farmers who believed that the Johnson/Farage scum would maintain the EU levels of supplements. Ever been had?

Grayham Jones
1 year ago

It’s time for a New Wales kick all English party’s out of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
1 year ago

Alun Cairns in the Vale of Glamorgan, David Jones of Clwyd West, Brecon and Radnorshire MP Fay Jones, Montgomeryshire MP Craig Williams, Clwyd South MP Simon Baynes, Vale of Clwyd MP James Davies and Simon Hart in Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire. Those are some of the MPs who support the trade deal and I would bet a tenner that farmers will re-elect them.

1 year ago

Nobody seems to be talking about Australian beef which just like American beef is full of growth hormones, as soon as that enters uk food processors, that will make it unsuitable for the Eu market, thereby closing that door in our faces, also isn’t anyone worried about food security?

1 year ago

This is probably small beer compared to the problems that will come when the big agricultural trading countries come wanting a trade deal.
The UK is basically a German client-state which can be brought to heel pretty sharpish by cutting off access to ALDI Specialbuys.

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