LONDON: Welsh sheep farmers face a “bleak future” if the UK would not maintain free have business dealings with the EU, a significant industry representative has warned MPs.
Addressing home of Commons Welsh Affairs committee (9 January), chief executive of Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC) – the trade association in the Welsh red meat industry, Gwyn Howells said: “We [the UK] have a worldwide established brand by reason of trade with the EU. Ninety-five percent of (our) trade utilizing the EU. We have to expand our portfolio of destinations nevertheless takes a considerable time.”
This is the latest warning on the UK farming sector within the economic hit that could be at risk through a chaotic Brexit process.
A report through the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), published last October, argued that reverting to trading aided by the EU under WTO rules would watch a fall in average farm income over the UK of 20,000 (22,000).
“In short term, Wales will suffer due to our huge dependency on the EU market. Therefore maintaining market access along with the EU is goal,” the AHDB’s David Swales told MPs.
“Global opportunities isn’t going to be available for 5 to 10 years. New trade deals can be extremely complex and take a great deal of time to finalise.”
However, Swales added that doesn’t all agricultural sectors will be affected from a ‘no deal’ Brexit, because it’s dependent on whether or not the farmer is definitely a net exporter or importer.
“Sheep meat are a wide net exporter to Europe, particularly other sectors, including beef and dairy, Wales is known as a net importer. It’s only when [the UK] are net exporters that they lose out under WTO rules,” he stated.
The Welsh lamb industry is being forced to increase its shelf-life wherein it can be transported and sold. Presently, Welsh Lamb has Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)?status from the EU, it’s shelf-life of 14-21 days is a lot shorter individuals of leading lamb exporters, Nz and Australia.
There was dependence on an “industry-wide project to improve shelf-life and ensure cleanliness is maintained to some high standard throughout the supply chain,” said Howells.
“This really everyone’s problem and will be addressed.”
The government home loan giants put the EU’s existing trade agreements with third countries into UK law after March 2019, but has conceded that it’s going to not be able to strike bespoke trade deals until then date.
The UK meat industry has identified China as a general target export market post-Brexit.
“However, the english does not have a trade address China, and also time scale to barter trade deals is 5 up to 7 years,” said Howells.
In the meantime, they noted the fact that the Welsh agriculture sector is already suffering from a reduction of seasonal labour. “EU personnel are not waiting so that the exit date,” noted Howells.
“Wales has three main food abattoirs, with 50 to 60 percent of their total workforce being migrant workers from Europe. Over the summer, a noticeable amount has left for currency reasons lousy websites . uncertainty from the the future hold,” he added.