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UK-EU deal must be struck to avoid catastrophic impacts says FUW

FUW President Glyn Roberts

The FUW says failure by the UK and EU to reach a trade deal in the coming days would be catastrophic for industries and entire communities in Wales and across the UK and must be avoided at all costs.

FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Even if there is a trade deal with the EU, industries are facing major challenges from non-tariff barriers at borders, with additional costs for agricultural exports estimated to be up to 10% not to mention major disruptions and practical obstacles to the flow of goods.

“These already worrying impacts will increase many fold if we fail to reach a trade agreement, in particular as a result of the tariffs that will be charged on our exports.

“The viability and very survival of businesses and the supply chains and jobs they support depends on a deal being struck, and talk of an ‘Australia-style deal’ is just a euphemism for a damaging no-deal.”

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told BBC Question Time viewers last night (December 10) “…be careful what you wish for. Australia’s relationship with the EU is not one from a trade point of view that I think Britain would want, frankly,” and that “We obviously are dealing with WTO terms. And there are really some very large barriers to Australian trade with Europe which we’re seeking to address as we negotiate a free trade agreement with Europe…But Australians would not regard our trade relationship with Europe as being a satisfactory one.”

Wales’ food and drink supply chain plays an integral role to the Welsh economy and communities, employing more than 240,000 people in industries with a combined turnover of more than £22 billion.

The European Union is the largest and most affluent single market in the world, and 73% of all Welsh food and drink exports are destined for the EU. This includes the majority of exports of red meat and dairy products worth an estimated £320 million to Wales.

Over a third of sheep meat produced in Wales is exported annually and, of this, more than 90% is exported to the European Union.

“We have said since the referendum that no responsible UK government would allow the UK to leave the EU without a trade deal.

“For us to leave the biggest and richest single market in the world without a deal, at a time when jobs, lives and the economy continue to be ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic, would be a massive and reckless act of self harm,” added Mr Roberts.