Barbados Times

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Tuesday, Sep 26, 2023

UK Farmers Concerned Over Cheaper, Lower Quality Imports Under New Trade Deal

UK Farmers Concerned Over Cheaper, Lower Quality Imports Under New Trade Deal

There is growing concern among some farmers in the United Kingdom that cheaper and lower quality food could soon enter the country because of new trade agreements and threaten their livelihoods.
In North Somerset, United Kingdom, there is growing concern among farmers that new trade agreements could lead to cheaper and lower quality food imports, potentially jeopardizing their livelihoods. The UK recently signed the accession paperwork to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), an Asia-Pacific trading bloc.

To address these concerns, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has vowed to prioritize farming in the country's trade policy and ban low-quality imports. While new trade deals may open doors for British produce exports, farmers fear that inferior products from Australia, New Zealand, and other CPTPP member countries could flood the UK market.

Local farmers face challenges as they are required to adhere to higher environmental and animal welfare standards, putting them at a disadvantage against competitors producing lower quality goods. The Prime Minister aims to avoid repeating the mistakes made with previous trade deals.

Despite some criticism, experts believe that joining the CPTPP offers strategic significance for the UK. The deal has applications from five other parties, including China, Taiwan, and several Latin American countries, with others expressing interest. For UK farmers, access to global markets and a reputation for high-quality British produce are seen as positive outcomes.

In response to the changing landscape, farmers like George Ford in South West England are embracing innovation to transform the industry. The Ford family, farming for six generations, has shifted away from intensive methods and pesticides. Embracing natural and sustainable practices, they rely on chickens for pest control and aim to prioritize animal welfare.

While the transformation has come with initial financial challenges, George Ford believes that the long-term benefits will lead to growth and an enjoyable farming experience.

UK farmers remain hopeful that measures to protect their industry and promote high-quality produce will be prioritized under the new trade agreements.

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