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Brexit: Trade in food inquiry launched

14 September 2017

The Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee invites evidence on the impact on the UK food and farming sectors of potential new trading arrangements with the EU after Brexit.

The Committee wishes to examine how a potential trade deal could affect farmers, food processors and consumers.

UK goods and services can currently move freely between countries in the EU's single market. The EU's customs union also imposes standard tariffs on products traded into the UK from non-EU countries. A new framework for trading food and agricultural products across European borders will present new opportunities and challenges for the UK's agri-food sector.

Chair's comments

Neil Parish MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

"The food and farming sector is a key part of the UK economy, contributing some £108 billion annually and employing around 3.9 million people. The country's half a million farmers produce 60% of the food eaten in the UK and manage some 70% of the land area.

It is vital that future trade arrangements allow farmers and food processors to compete effectively. We welcome views on the steps that the Government and agri-food sector need to take to enable farmers and processors to sell more of their produce at home and abroad. We also want to hear views on how trade policies can best allow UK consumers access to affordable, good quality food after Brexit."

Scope of the inquiry

The Committee invites interested parties to submit written evidence by 20 October 2017 on:

  1. What challenges and opportunities will the UK food and farming sectors face from new trade arrangements with EU countries after the UK leaves the European Union?
  2. What trade policy objectives should Defra/ the UK Government establish in order to achieve the right balance between the interests of food consumers, producers and processors, and the environment?
  3. How effective are the Government's arrangements for consulting the food and farming sector and for representing their interests within the UK's negotiations with the EU?
  4. How effective are the Government's arrangements for representing the interests of the four nations within the UK's negotiations for trade in food? 
  5. What can farmers, food producers and processors, and government do to prepare for changes to trading arrangements, including to improve production and to reduce trading costs?

The Committee will look at specific agricultural sectors in-depth: evidence which refers to the experiences of the sheep and lamb, beef, dairy, pork, poultry, horticultural and cereals industry are particularly welcome.  An initial examination of the sheep production and processing sector is planned for the autumn.

Please note: The Committee is not specifically addressing labour impacts of Brexit as a short report published by Efra in the last Parliament covered these issues.

Further information

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