Minette Batters 2 HR (002)

NFU President Minette Batters

The NFU has reacted positively to the start of new free trade negotiations between the UK and Canada.

Commenting on NFU Online, the farming union said negotiations will build on a post-Brexit 'roll-over' trade agreement inherited from Britain's time as a member of the EU, under which UK producers already benefitted from tariff-free trade on 98 per cent of exported goods, including fruit and vegetables.

UK food and drink trade with Canada was worth £344m before the pandemic.

NFU President Minette Batters said the start of the talks was positive news. “While we currently have some agri-food trade with Canada, there are opportunities available for British farmers to export more quality produce,” she said, adding: “The government must also recognize that Canada is a significant agricultural exporter that will want to increase its access to the prized UK market.

“The NFU would welcome a strengthening under all negotiated FTAs to ensure the UK farmer’s high production standards are protected both domestically, and from imports which do not meet those standards.

“The UK Government must also consider the cumulative impact of FTAs which are currently being negotiated and the ones just concluded and ensure that any concessions are considered in the whole, and in terms of the possible combined impact on the domestic sector.”