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 06 dec 2017 12:30 

Copa and Cogeca about Brexit

Copa and Cogeca adopted a position today on the exit of the UK from the EU, calling for the UK to remain in the Single Market and Customs Union.
The UK is a net importer of agri-food products, worth 57 billion euros, and it is a key country in the EU with fully integrated rules and economy. Between 70-99% of all UK agricultural imports originate from the EU. Trade is mainly concentrated in 6 EU countries: Ireland, Germany, France, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands. Agricultural trade is also important for the UK with 60% of UK agri-food exports (beef, lamb, poultry, dairy, cereals) worth £11 billion to the UK economy go to the EU.

Copa President Joachim Rukwied said “As trade is very integrated, .farmers and agri-businesses on both sides will be badly affected. It is consequently crucial to minimize any disruption to trade and to make sure that farmers do not end up paying the price of Brexit. We need a comprehensive trade agreement which will keep the UK in the Single Market and Customs Union to allow free trade with the EU and to minimize non-tariff barriers to trade.  If this is not possible, the EU and UK should find a new customs arrangement that enables frictionless trade as much as possible, whilst preserving the integrity of the Single Market. The Brexit negotiations should not be concluded without providing tariff-free trade between the EU and UK”.

Cogeca President Thomas Magnusson added “Transitional arrangements, which maintain the status quo, must also be found and agreed on as soon as possible in order to remove the uncertainty facing farmers and their cooperatives. Ways to keep the current budget for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which actually costs less than 1% of EU government’s total public expenditure and in return ensures quality food supplies and maintains biodiversity, growth and jobs, must be found”.

Head of Copa and Cogeca’s Brexit task force Alo Duffy expressed worries about the impact on trade also due to the weakness of sterling. He emphasized the need to find an agreement which preserves investments that have been made by the farming community on both sides of the channel and the Irish border. A dynamic export policy will be vital too to maintain market balance , he concluded. Click here to read the position paper

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