Trade “is absolutely fundamental to the future of our livestock industry,” stated National Farmers Union president Minette Batters, stressing the importance of securing a favourable trade deal with the EU.
“With so much at stake, the UK government must adopt a trade policy which prioritises tariff free, frictionless access to the European marketplace.”
The value of sheep meat exports to the EU topped £302 million in 2015, indicating the value of European export markets for sheep meat and the significance of the sector to the UK economy, particularly the rural community.
“This is crucial to underpin market stability – vital not just for farmers but the many wider supply chain businesses that depend on a thriving sheep sector,” said Batters. Therefore, “we cannot turn our backs on a trading relationship that has, for so long, influenced the development of our livestock industries.”
Both the government and its trade negotiators need “to understand the very real challenges facing livestock farmers as we head into unchartered waters and be ambitious in their negotiations.”