The Farmers’ Union of Wales says the draft withdrawal deal and political declaration agreed between the EU and the UK does nothing to allay concerns present in Theresa May’s original deal, given it contains ‘no significant changes or improvements for Wales’ and will place the UK outside the Single Market.
FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “From a Welsh perspective the deal is to all intents and purposes unchanged from when it was proposed by Theresa May.
“The fact that it seeks to take us well and truly out of the Single Market and Customs Union in order to pave the way for deals with non-EU countries, coupled with the UK Government’s alarming appetite for a deal with the USA, raises major alarm bells for Welsh farming and those concerned with UK food standards.”
Mr Roberts said it would clearly be a US priority in trade negotiations to secure access to the UK market for agricultural products – which are often produced in ways and to standards that fall well short of what is currently legal in Wales and the rest of the EU.
“The impact would be extremely damaging for Welsh farmers and UK food standards, and there is a real danger that the UK would be ‘deal-takers’ during the sort of negotiations this withdrawal deal and political declaration is seeking to allow.
“As well as a lowering of UK standards, this would also risk the loss of access to the prosperous EU market that is on our doorstep for products such as Welsh lamb, because of those differing standards.”
Mr Roberts said the US’s singling out of Scottish Whisky – but not Irish Whiskey – in the trade embargoes about to come into force makes it clear how ruthless trade negotiations would be for the UK, and how meaningless the idea of a ‘special relationship’ would be when it came to forging such a deal with the US.
“A fuller view on the new UK-EU draft withdrawal deal will be formulated in a forthcoming meeting of FUW Chairs and Officials.
“However, our initial reaction is that our position should remain one of supporting a form of Brexit that ensures unfettered access to the Single Market and does not open up our food supply chain to food produced to animal health and welfare standards that would be illegal here in Wales.”