UFU welcome move to end farmers’ no-deal ‘confusion’ on post-Brexit trade rules

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) say new “clarity” from the government on trade rules after a no-deal Brexit show how “disastrous” the consequences would be for farmers in Northern Ireland.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 12:53 pm
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 1:55 pm
Ulster Farmers' Union president Ivor Ferguson. Picture: Cliff Donaldson

The union president, Ivor Ferguson, said there has been “confusion” amongst farmers here on the rules that would apply if the UK leaves the EU without an overall trade deal.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The UFU said Brexiteers had promoted trade tariffs known as ‘Article 24’ of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade but Mr Ferguson said they had “misunderstood the rules”.

The EU and UK currently have no tariffs and no customs checks. However, our future trading relationship with the EU will incur more friction. If there was an agreement to maintain the status quo under the provisions listed in Article 24, we could only do so if the future relationship delivered the exact same removal of barriers as now. This is something the EU is very unlikely to agree to. They have made it very clear the future EU-UK trading relation cannot deliver the same lack of barriers that are currently afforded through EU membership,” said Mr Ferguson.

“These are the facts, pure and simple. A no-deal Brexit will have disastrous consequences for Northern Ireland’s farming industry. We respect the referendum result. Our interest lies solely in ensuring there is a future for family farm businesses in Northern Ireland,” said the UFU president.