EU Trade deal


The announcement that a trade deal between the UK and the EU has been agreed just days before the end of the transition period is a great relief.

Since the EU referendum four-and-a-half years ago, MNFU has been resolute in its belief that a ‘no deal’, and the introduction of tariffs on key agricultural products would have been a disaster for the sector.

The detail of the deal, contained within a 2000-page document, must be scrutinised and receive parliamentary approval.  It does offer a platform for trade with the EU, but it is unlikely to be frictionless.  Trade will inevitably involve significant levels of bureaucracy, additional cost and delays, particularly in early January whilst new systems at the borders bed in.

In addition, the decision by the EU to grant third country listing status to the UK (23 December) and approve exports of meat, dairy and other products of animal origin is seen as crucial.  Scottish red meat exports to the EU alone are worth more than £80 million.

No deal would have been no good to Manx farming, food and drink and the worst-case scenario of crippling tariffs for some sectors, particularly sheep has now been averted.  We will now need to see the detail of what has been agreed and scrutinise it closely.

Whatever the details of the deal, wrapped up in more than 2000 pages, there will be friction.  Our new trading arrangement with the EU will not be a continuation of what we have just now.  New demands on paperwork and new rules around certification will bring a period of adjustment, the potential for delay and add additional costs.

Your Manx NFU officers are meeting with DEFA on the 8th of January to discuss Brexit implications in more detail and will update members accordingly.