OPINION: Impact of UK trade deals will be close half of all Welsh farms – Powys County Times

Credit: Original article can be found here

Far too often we hear about the tensions between environmentalists and farmers – well there’s more that unites them than divides. We’re talking here about values and the future of our communities, writes county councillor Elwyn Vaughan.

24 hours after signing G7 text pledging to accelerate climate action, the PM agreed a trade deal with a carbon intensive economy that has no net zero strategy, while imposing no carbon border tariffs and granting access to a hugely high impact agricultural sector.

Once the deal is signed, there will be immediate access to a duty-free quota of 35,000 tonnes for beef, rising in equal instalments to 110,000 tonnes in year ten. There will be immediate access to a duty-free quota of 25,000 tonnes for lamb, rising in equal instalments to 75,000 tonnes in year 10. This with no scrutiny by Parliament.

Australian farmers routinely use production and land management practices that would lead to a Welsh farmer being prosecuted.

The 53,000 people who work on Welsh farms provide raw ingredients for a £7.5 billion Welsh food and drink supply chain which in turn employs 229,000 people.

Large swathes of Montgomeryshire have between 15 and 27 per cent of the workforce in the agricultural sector.

Canada and New Zealand have already stated they will regard the UK-Australia deal as a baseline for their negotiations over a deal, and the fact that they are both CPTPP members who could block the UK’s aspiration to join the CPTPP gives them significant negotiating power to get a deal that at least copies the Australia deal.

In Canada regional government’s such as Quebec can block a unfavorable deal; yet Wales has no such ability or power.

Mexico’s farmers were put out of business thanks to NAFTA, Mexico lost nearly 1.3 million farm jobs. The 2002 Farm Bill subsidized U.S. agribusiness by as much as 40 per cent of net farm income. When NAFTA removed trade tariffs, companies exported corn and other grains to Mexico below cost. Rural Mexican farmers could not compete.

Half of Welsh farms will go out of business as a result of these trade deals.

The effect on our rural communities will be the same as closing the coal mines in 1980’s.

The question for both our Powys MP’s is do you represent Powys interests at Westminster or represent Westminster in Powys?