In early 2018, National Pig Association (NPA) senior policy advisor Ed Barker reported a long list of updates on the impact of Brexit on the UK pig industry. What he indicated was significant and included such relevant and key details as:
- Formal negotiations on a UK-EU trade deal are slated to continue through December of 2020, which is a date earlier than many in the UK are comfortable with
- A “softer Brexit than some within the Cabinet would like” is looking like a reality as there is yet a commitment to a hard border with Ireland, meaning less regulatory independence but a possibility for greater global freedoms
- UK lobbyists are pressing for mutual recognition of standards and free market access, but with the caveat that there are to be disease prevention models at borders
- At the same time, non-EU trade deals are being considered by the DiT (Department for International Trade) to open up massive markets that include China and the U.S. However, Mr. Barker did noted that there are worries that ” the UK will prioritise deals with countries like the US, New Zealand and Australia ahead of expanding developing economies like China” and that trade deals will favor ” cheap, lower standard imports”
It is the latter that is, perhaps, one of the most troublesome for UK pig producers as the use of sow stalls and certain antibiotics are illegal in the UK, but widely used in North and South America. It is why Mr. Barker and other NPA lobbyists are working so hard to make plain to “MPs the effects of importing these products, which would be illegal to produce here”.
The good news is that it is far too soon for any major changes in legislation to be made, and is an ideal moment for improvements in internal legislation, including Common Agricultural Policy. For pig producers, this means the main “areas of interest so far include: incentives for improving buildings, mechanisms to counter volatility, insurance options, R&D in areas like health, welfare and resource efficiency and more resource for export promotion.”
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