The FUW and other key organisations representing Welsh food and drink producers and manufacturers have written an open letter to the Prime Minister highlighting key issues that must be addressed immediately to avoid detrimental impacts to the industry following the end of the eU Withdrawal period.
“The european Union is the largest market for Welsh food and drink businesses to export their goods to, and includes exports of red meat and dairy products worth an estimated £320 million to Wales,” said FUW President Glyn Roberts.
“What happens in the run up to January 1 2021 is critical to the economic viability of many food, drink and farming businesses and the supply chains and jobs they support.”
The nine organisations which signed the letter comprised the British Meat Processors Association, CLA Cymru, Farmers’ Union of Wales, Food and Drink Federation Cymru, Livestock Auctioneers Association, National Beef Association, NFU Cymru, National Sheep Association Cymru and the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society.
The letter highlights six actions the organisations believe are essential in the coming weeks, namely:
• A trade deal allowing tariff free access to the eU market must be reached if acute and longlasting damage to our industries is to be avoided
• A six-month grace period should be negotiated and agreed with the eU to allow businesses to adjust to the impacts of the new rules which will be in place for exports
• efforts to reduce the impacts of non-tariff barriers must be stepped up, both in terms of the actions that can be taken unilaterally by the UK and what is negotiated with the eU
• The food and drink sector must be added to the Shortage Occupation List while taking meaningful steps to improve access to seasonal workers
• Appropriate physical infrastructure and staffing at UK ports must be in place at the end of any transition or grace period to ensure the smooth flow of products
• Financial assistance packages for food and drink producers and manufacturers must be put in place ahead of any changes to trading arrangements.
The full text of the letter is available on the FUW website – www.fuw.org.uk