Irish and UK farmers 'have common cause' on standards and competition

Andrew Cummings
February 27, 2020

The UK Environment Secretary George Eustice told the National Farmer's Union conference on Wednesday that lifting the ban would be up for discussion as part of talks, although he insisted that standards would not be allowed to fall.

Addressing the two-day annual conference of the National Farmers Union (NFU) in Birmingham, Eustice called on British farmers to "have no more jangling nerves about our ability to compete on the worldwide stage", as farmers are increasingly anxious about government's stance on a USA trade deal.

At the NFU's annual conference in Birmingham yesterday, Ms Batters described how farmers in some countries wash livestock in chlorine or other chemicals, give animals antibiotics to promote growth and keep egg-laying hens in battery cages.

Batters also shared her "slight frustration" that conversations often focused on chlorinated chicken.

"This feels like the battleground of Brexit".

"Standards feel as though they are dominating the conversation on trade and it is absolutely appropriate that they should", Carolyn Fairbairn, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry business lobby group, told the NFU meeting. "When you delve down under that and have conversation about values and what we want to be in the world, there is a lot of agreement". You wrote an article in The Guardian talking about having trade negotiations whereby food had to be produced to those same standards. Last year the government asked the European Union to relax the rules, but Eustice made no commitment to making a request this year. "It feels pretty terrifying to me".

"The amendment I put down which you mentioned was a probing amendment really and literally just a copy of what was already in regulations".

Mrs Batters added: "We must not tie the hands of British farmers to the highest rung of the standards ladder while waving through food imports which may not even reach the bottom rung".

"This year the government must.insist that United Kingdom farm standards are the benchmark for climate-friendly farming around the world and that whoever wants to trade with us, trades on our terms", said Batters in her keynote speech. "That amendment has to stay in and if it is taken out, we will know the road that we are on", Batters said.

Batters said she accepted that Johnson was not going to visit any flood sites, but in a sideswipe said: "Unless cabinet ministers get out and see this issue for themselves it's very hard [to understand the level of ruin]".

Last month, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin stated that the United States of America sought after to agree a post-Brexit industry handle the United Kingdom in 2020.

Other reports by iNewsToday