Agriculture sector concerns must be heard by Government – Carmichael

Alistair Carmichael, MP for the Northern Isles, has demanded that the Government do more to engage with the concerns of farmers and crofters in their contingency planning. In order to trade with the EU, non-Member states have to be certified as being grown, or raised in a way which meets the EUs standards. In the event of a no-deal Brexit the UK would have to apply for that status in order to continue to export to the EU.

Speaking in the House of Commons today, Mr. Carmichael said:

“The National Farming Union in September were warning their members that that in the event of a no deal Brexit, we could be out of the EU as a market for up to six months while the process was undertaken for registration of the UK as a third party country. For the Shetland farmers and crofters for whom Europe is an enormously important market for their lamb exports, that could be very serious. What is the minister doing to ensure that we are not left in that position?”

Responding on behalf of the Government, Parliamentary Under-secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, said:

“I know he takes these matters very seriously on behalf of his constituents. As he knows, we want to get the deal that is on the table at the moment because that guarantees these things. We have already published, as I mentioned, technical notices which detail what farmers need to do to export their products in a no deal scenario. We have been clear that there will be some changes in the way in which we export animal products. The EU have also published a document as part of its no deal planning, in which they set out that they will swiftly list the UK as a third country if all of the applicable conditions have been filled and that will allow us to continue to export live animals and animal products to the EU. We are maintaining a dialogue with the EU, as well as taking concrete steps to minimise any disruption which may occur in those circumstances.”

Commenting, Mr. Carmichael said:

“No one wants the UK to be in a position where we have a chaotic no-deal Brexit, but if that does happen, the agricultural industry will be one of the most adversely affected parts of our economy. The Minister’s reply is helpful, but ‘swiftly’ is a very vague term, and it is not soon enough for the industry.

“It is looking increasingly likely that the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal will be rejected by Parliament next week, and what happens next is not yet clear. That is why contingency planning is so important.

“The Government ought to listen to the concerns expressed by the NFUS and ensure that even if there is a disorderly no-deal Brexit that our farming industry can continue to function.”

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