The president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) has called for Parliament to have the final say on post-Brexit trade deals.
Currently, there is no requirement for Parliament to debate trade deals before they are signed into law, and safeguards to allow MPs to reject such trade deals are limited. The NFU fears that this situation could result in a massive increase in the amount of food being imported that is produced in ways that would be illegal in this country.
The union also wants Parliament to be provided with independent advice about the impact every trade deal will have on the UK’s food and farming standards before it decides whether to accept or reject them.
An amendment to the Agriculture Bill that has been put forward to the House of Lords would give this duty to the new Trade and Agriculture Commission, which was set up by the Government in July.
Following this, there are growing fears this week that if there is no deal between the UK and the EU, then Brussels could use the Withdrawal Agreement to impose tougher checks on goods going into Northern Ireland, or even apply tariffs.
Farm leaders have expressed concern that with the imposition of steep tariffs on all agricultural trade with the EU it could provide significant downward pressure on markets.
Country Land and Business Association president Mark Bridgeman commented “tariffs for exports into Europe will cripple many farming sectors, and we have written to government asking for a detailed, robust and well-funded support package for farmers should the worst happen.”
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