The NFU has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for an urgent review of the government’s no-deal trade tariff policy that would come into effect if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
Under the current no-deal applied trade tariffs, the UK would be forced to trade on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, meaning UK farmers would face higher fees on exports such as 48% on lamb and 84% on beef.
In the letter, NFU president Minette Batters reaffirmed the NFU’s view that a no-deal Brexit would be a disaster for British farming and that any exiting of the EU must be smooth and orderly.
She wrote: “If we leave without a deal the sudden change in our trading relationship with the EU will have severe impacts on the UK food and farming sectors, not least due to the tariff treatment of both imports and exports.
“Clearly the imposition of tariffs on our exports to the EU will most likely lead to a surplus of domestic products on the UK market, while at the same time lower or no tariffs on imports into the UK will put further pressure on domestic producer prices.
“There’s also the risk that without the maintenance of tariff protections we would be in danger of opening up the UK to imported food which would be illegal to be produced here.”
She added: “The situation is particularly stark on the island of Ireland where no tariffs will be collected on imports across the land-border. There is no indication that such an arrangement will be reciprocated by the EU and there is nothing in practical terms to stop this trade becoming an open gateway for all EU goods entering the UK duty free.”