Welsh Farmers left with no protection with UK-New Zealand trade deal, says Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru has expressed significant concerns about the new trade deal stuck between the UK and New Zealand.
The pro-independence party argues that the trade agreement looks set to open the doors to an influx of cheaper food at a lower standard, which could potentially hit the farming sector in Wales harder than in any other part of the UK.
Farming union NFU Cymru has recently raised concerns about the deal, stating that its potential negative impact cannot be overstated.
The New Zealand trade deal follows another similar deal with Australia.
According to Plaid, while it offers significant upsides for farmers on the other side of the world, it potentially creates significant marketplace changes for Welsh farming.
Plaid Cymru’s Agriculture Spokesperson, Mabon ap Gwynfor MS, has raised the issue as a matter of urgency with the Welsh Government in the Senedd.
Mabon ap Gwynfor MS 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 90% 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.
“The UK Government needs to conduct a full impact assessment of these trade deals on Welsh Farmers, who are far more susceptible to damage from a poor trade deal with New Zealand and Australia than other farmers in the UK.”
The Welsh Government’s Minister for Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said: “Yes, I do. I think it is that cumulative impact, because it’s very clear to us and probably to your party, and certainly to the stakeholders we spoke to, that one of the things we were very concerned about with the Australia deal is that it would set a precedent and you can see now with the New Zealand deal that that is absolutely the case.
“So, I do think that an assessment is needed. Now the deal has been signed, obviously our officials and I need to scrutinise that next chapter. But we warned them; this is what we told them would happen.
“We’re very concerned about the animal health and welfare standards and the environmental standards. I think New Zealand have very similar standards to us, if not higher, perhaps, in some cases, where Australia certainly doesn’t.
“But it is that cumulative impact—you know, what’s the next trade deal going to do? So, I think it is important that we monitor it very carefully. We repeatedly raised concerns with the UK Government about this, but I’m afraid they haven’t listened to us.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.
A new era of land clearances by stealth, opening the floodgates for more huge windfarms and dodgy A Forestation programs. In the meantime our food security is compromised at a moment in history when all nations should be thinking how they may become more self sufficient. What utter madness from Westminster charlatans who inform us what a great trade deal this is.
Vote Plaid if you re genuinely are farming in Wales and want to secure yours and your. families future
For those in agri businesses funded by off farm financing some of which can be linked to Russia it’s time to decide where your future lies and its growing darker by the hour
As yet the trigger happy types who denigrate farmers for voting for Brexit or the Tories, or both, haven’t arrived. Given the predicament foisted on the sector in Wales by government in London and Cardiff the sector is ripe for conversion to a more radical politics. A big void for Plaid to occupy and consolidate. Except within Plaid there is a nasty segment that is just as hostile to the rural economy as the donkeys in London and the lifestyle lefties of other parties. So time for politicians to wake up and then maybe we can get our rural affairs… Read more »
It’s time for a New Wales 🏴
Yeah not much sympathy. Most voted for brexit. Make your bed etc.
Please be careful with your generalisations. The picture is not that simple. This article is worth reading Brexit Choices and shows that the farming industry was quite variable by sector. In addition, as for the general population, the higher the qualifications the voter had, the more likely they were to support Remain. Women farmers too were more likely to support Remain. We also need to recall that around that time DEFRA was getting much stick for its inability to operate the CAP payments scheme properly. Many farmers reported feeling that getting away from the Defra CAP scheme would be better,… Read more »
So the tories are now busily banging the final nails into the UK farming industries coffin, while simultaneously at the forefront of creating massive amounts of pollution by encouraging NZ to ship thousands of tons of meat half way round the planet. What exactly is wrong with home produced beef and lamb. What exactly are the tories getting out of this?