The NFU says technical notices which have been released confirm farmers’ fears that a no-deal Brexit scenario would have devastating impacts for British food and farming.
The notices suggest that the export of animals and animal products would face a cliff-edge scenario in the event of leaving the EU with no deal.
The UK would need to be approved by the EU as an exporter – a process which could take a minimum of six months.
The NFU says this underlines the critical importance of a deal that delivers free and frictionless trade with our biggest trading partner. The total value of agri-food exports to the EU in 2017 was £13bn, of which £3.15bn was animals and animal products.
NFU president Minette Batters said: “These technical notices confirm in black and white what we already knew: a no deal scenario would be catastrophic for British agriculture. A scenario where farmers face an immediate trade embargo for many of their products would have devastating effects, and would severely threaten livelihoods and businesses.
“While these notices are an essential part of government planning, it is crucial that the government does as much as possible to avoid disruption for farm businesses in all outcomes. We urge everyone in the negotiations to work to achieve a deal that delivers free and frictionless trade between the UK and the EU.
“The NFU has been clear that its priority is achieving this essential trading relationship with the EU, its largest trading partner, and we will continue to engage with the UK government to reiterate the strategic importance of British food and farming to the country.”