Brexit and a US trade deal to create ‘perfect storm’ for British farming

Leaving the Single Market and opening up borders to cheap food imports could have severe consequences for the British farming industry, according to the Liberal Democrats. 

The political party said such actions would risk putting farmers out of business, as well as lower animal welfare trade rules. This Friday, Prime Minister Theresa May will meet with President Donald Trump where a UK-US trade deal is expected to be one of the main topics for discussion.

Today, Wednesday 25 January, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron is visiting West Illand Farm in Launceston, Cornwall, to discuss the effects a hard Brexit could have on the industry. He will be accompanied by the party’s parliamentary spokesperson for North Cornwall and former Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs minister Dan Rogerson.

“Hard Brexit and a free trade deal with Trump pose a threat to the family farm as we know it,” said Farron.

“Pulling Britain out of the Single Market would hit UK farmers especially hard, as tariffs for agricultural products are far higher than in other sectors. The US also has far lower animal welfare and food standards than we do, including on factory farming and the use of growth hormones on antibiotics.

“British farmers therefore risk facing a perfect storm, losing tariff-free access to vital European markets while being undercut by imports from the US and elsewhere,” he added. “The Liberal Democrats will fight to hold Theresa May to account over her plans for a hard Brexit and ensure the British people are given a say on the final deal. The public did not vote to weaken animal welfare standards or put British farmers out of business.”

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