Acknowledgement welcomed

THE FUW has welcomed the acknowledgement of the threat posed by a potential free trade deal with New Zealand by Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths. Ms Griffiths told the Assembly’s Rural Affairs Committee that she was happy with the current round of talks with Ministers at Westminster about the future of UK farming after Brexit, but the prospect of a free trade agreement with New Zealand was a cause for concern. “If we have this huge influx of New Zealand lamb it will absolutely destroy the Welsh lamb industry,” she said. The FUW previously described the prospect of a free trade deal with New Zealand as a perfect storm for Welsh Agriculture. FUW president Glyn Roberts said: “I wrote to the former Prime Minister in July, highlighting our concerns regarding such a deal with a country which is in such direct competition with ourselves. It is good to see that our Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs has acknowledged that threat.” As far as the opportunities represented by such a deal were concerned, Mr Roberts described these as negligible, saying: “New Zealand has a population of around 4.5 million, which is about one per cent of the size of the EU, and is 11,500 miles away. A free trade deal may be a great opportunity for New Zealand, but the benefits for the UK as a whole are zero, and for agriculture are extremely negative.”

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