The NFU and NOAH has given a cautious welcome to details of a 21-month transitional period as part of the agreement to the UK leaving the EU.
Brexit negotiators David Davis and Michel Barnier have announced that the transitional period is set to last from 29 March, 2019 to December 2020, with the UK being able to negotiate and sign trade deals during this implementation stage.
NFU President Minette Batters said: “Today’s announcement helps to have a bit more certainty for our farming businesses although clarity on the details is key. There is still outstanding vital information which food and farming businesses need to understand.
“It’s vital that there is a smooth transitional period for the farming industry, avoiding any cliff-edge scenario. This is best achieved by retaining membership of the EU Customs Union until a settled free trade relationship comes into force. The industry needs continuity after the date of withdrawal to ensure that farmers can continue to produce safe, traceable and affordable food and provide other environmental and economic benefits for the nation.
“The NFU has long called for frictionless trade with the EU, free of tariffs and non-tariff barriers. As our largest trading partner – over 70% of our exports of food and non-alcoholic drinks being sent to EU markets – access to the EU must be a top priority.
“We also understand that Government will pay the 2019 BPS scheme on the same basis as now – a welcome assurance for our farmers making business decisions now such as for planting and animal rearing. We look forward to working with Government as it introduces its own reforms to the farm payments system from 2020 – one that supports farms that are profitable, productive and competitive.”
NOAH has welcomed the progress announced today on the agreement of how the UK will leave the EU, including transition terms.
NOAH Chair Gaynor Hillier said: “We welcome the agreement for a transition period as another step towards more clarity in the Brexit process. Lack of certainty has been a concern for NOAH, as its member company businesses need to plan in order to make Brexit as successful as possible, and to maintain the supply of animal medicines to protect the health and welfare of the UK’s farm livestock and pets.
“Safeguarding a skilled workforce, championing the UK jobs market and looking ahead to regulatory changes and licensing frameworks are all vital: this announcement is another positive move following the Prime Minister’s Mansion House statement of intent for the UK to maintain a close relationship with the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
“It is vital for both the UK and EU that there is cooperation on animal medicines innovation, safety, regulation, access and supply. NOAH will continue to work closely with others involved with animal health and welfare as the Brexit process continues, and further important issues are addressed,” she said.