No-deal Brexit could damage UK milk producers

A spokesman for Dairy UK has warned that the Government’s no-deal Brexit plans to impose tariffs on cheese would not adequately protect milk producers’ livelihoods. Moreover, suppliers and consumers could see a sharp increase in raw milk prices.

Under the Government’s plan, around 18 per cent of total dairy imports would be tariffed temporarily to protect the market. For cheese, the rate would be set at around £190/t.

However, according to Dairy UK, this proposal would be inadequate, as the dairy sector would face World Trade Organisations (WTO) tariffs going out and zero tariffs coming in.

Dairy UK has commissioned an independent report on the potential effect of a no-deal Brexit on milk products and has shared the findings with the Government. The report found that the lack of tariffs on other cheeses and all other dairy products would put the UK industry at a severe competitive disadvantage, and the negative economic impact would affect the entire supply chain.

As Dairy UK’s Chief Executive, Judith Bryans, pointed out, the EU is the UK’s biggest export market, accounting for more than 90 per cent of UK dairy exports by volume. She added that if the trade became subject to high tariffs, the UK would automatically become uneconomic compared with EU peers.

The organisation has also offered to work with colleagues the Government to ensure that dairy and agriculture professionals are involved in future trade and tariff discussions.

Martin Johnson, Manager at Milsted Langdon, said: “It is clear that there are concerns regarding the future of the dairy industry in the UK. It is pivotal that these preparations are carried out thoroughly and any concerns listened to.

“For advice on matters relating to agriculture, contact us today.”

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