The decision has been made to leave the EU. This will take at least 2 years of negotiations which won’t start until a new Prime Minister has been appointed, as David Cameron announced this morning.
There are several areas that will have an impact for UK agriculture, particularly:
• Trade Implications
The single market means that we can trade with the EU without tariffs or border controls. We will lose access to this upon leaving the EU but a new arrangement will be made over the coming years. It may be possible during the negotiations to arrange a similar access to what we have now. How long it will take to put these new arrangements in place is unknown and the concern is the longer it takes, the greater the disruption.
The UK will need to renegotiate dozens of trade deals with the global market, that we previously had access to through the EU.
• Farm Support
Currently UK farmers receive £3 billion a year under the Common Agricultural Policy. A UK agricultural support system will need to be put in place but the level of this support, especially over the longer term, is unknown. The CAP has been criticised for its complexity. Taking this into our own hands provides an opportunity to create a simpler system and the ability to target the money in a more effective manner.
A huge proportion of the legislation effecting farmers comes from Brussels. Leaving the EU will give the UK control on setting new regulations and altering existing ones. However, if we are to continue trading with the EU it is likely we will need to comply with the EU regulations anyway.
The current situation is that we simply don’t know what is going to happen, what new policies are going to be put into place, what the new trade agreements will be and how long this will all take. Only time will tell.