spring / summer 2017 |
aspects of land
Low-tariff agreements, however, would open the
market to suppliers who did not meet EU standards.
“If the government wanted to dispute any of the
interpretations of WTO regulations, it could be a long,
drawn out process and could risk tit-for-tat challenges
against our exports,” says Simon.
In Britain, we generally have higher production costs
than countries that have more land and than those that
impose fewer restraints on environmental degradation.
Restrictions to production systems might improve food
quality and have environmental benefits, but they also add
additional costs to production.
All the UK’s trade arrangements are currently defined
by the EU. Initially, when the UK leaves the EU, these
will pass into UK law with the same tariffs that the EU
imposes.This will increase most food prices – as many
products are currently imported from the EU with
no tariff. If the government then applies a unilateral
reduction to tariffs, food costs would go down, but it
would make it easier for other countries with lower
standards to supply the UK and it would be difficult to
HOW TO BE READY FOR BREXIT
Savills head of Food and Farming, Andrew Wraith, says
there’s little that farmers can do to directly address the
trade issue at present and in reality the full complexity of
tariffs, how they affect trade and their impact on farms,
are little understood by most producers.
However, he says that farmers who make sure they
understand their local market and make themselves as
lean and agile as possible will be on the front foot when
the cloud of uncertainty clears.
“The UK market could be very attractive for the rest
of the world depending on the trade deals struck.The
protection we currently enjoy on an EU scale won’t
necessarily remain in place. Conversely, other market
opportunities may well emerge,” says Andrew.
“If your product needs to become cheaper to either
export it or to combat imports, how are you going to
make that happen?”
Understanding the limiting factors of a farm business
and working with others could help producers to make
marginal gains. “There could be a new emphasis on
co-operation and joint ventures through the production
chain to hammer down costs,” Andrew suggests.
Another way UK farms traditionally add value to
their produce is by creating a premium product.This is
something that Andrew advises farmers to look into,
although he acknowledges that it is not straightforward
and easier to achieve in some sectors than others.
Ian Bailey, London, 020 7299 3099,email@example.com
Andrew Wraith, Lincoln, 01522 508 973,firstname.lastname@example.org
TRADE CONUNDRUM; WHAT
WILL AFFECT UK FARMERS?
Trade terms: UK tariffs would
raise the price of most goods for
farmers and consumers. Reduction or
removal of these tariffs – or free trade
agreements – might expose the UK
to lower cost producers. EU tariffs on
UK exports would make UK export
Consumer acceptance: shoppers
must be aware of different production
systems. Food might be imported,
subject to WTO restrictions,
from countries that allow genetic
modification, use growth hormones or
wash chicken in chlorine, for example.
Level playing field: farmers in the
UK will want access to the same
technological opportunities and be
subject to the same standards as
ABOVE RIGHT The WTO headquarters in
Geneva, Switzerland. RIGHT Regulations
controlling production standards could
all be changed post Brexit