The agricultural sector and no deal tariff rates

Featuring Brian Harvey | 13th March, 2019

With last night’s second rejection of Prime Minister May’s Brexit deal the realisation that a no deal Brexit might happen seems to have come home to roost with the publication of the no-deal import tariff schedule this morning.

The NFU, CLA and others have been making loud noises as to the potentially devastating impact that a “no deal” might have on the agricultural sector and I don’t think this was just scaremongering.

The fact that today’s information shows that there would be tariffs for certain goods including beef, lamb and some dairy products which has to be welcomed by the industry there remains sectors of the industry which will not have any protection such as eggs, fruit and vegetables and cereals.  This in conjunction with export tariffs in place with the EU which is by far our greatest trading partner for agricultural products will also present issues with potentially domestic markets being flooded and certainly will not present a level playing field for farmers across the UK and EU which will be most relevant between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

Perhaps most concerning this could all come into fruition in the next couple of week’s causing significant disruption and this is before I have made any consideration of quality of product from and welfare standards adopted by the importing country.

All told, I do not think a no-deal is best for British Agriculture as a whole.  That said, as they say 24 hours is a long time in politics and by this time tomorrow no-deal could be taken off the table, and all that needs to be done is to find a workable solution for an orderly Brexit. Easy!

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