Is this the Brexit breakthrough farming needs? - Thorne Widgery

The Government has reached a “collective agreement” on a new Brexit plan, which would ensure the UK remains closely tied to the EU single market on goods and agriculture and will keep it within the EU’s customs territory.

The plan would ensure that the UK and EU have “frictionless access” to one another’s markets, meaning that the “uniquely integrated supply chains and “just-in-time processes” would be protected.

It also means that the UK would be able to negotiate its own trade deals and set its own tariffs with the rest of the world while collecting different tariffs on behalf of the EU for goods that pass through the UK. This would remove the need for customs checks and controls, so an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland could be maintained.

Farming leaders have welcomed the plan as a “significant breakthrough” towards ensuring unfettered access for UK food and agricultural commodities once the UK has left the European Union.

A spokeswoman for the National Farmers Union (NFU) said that more detail is needed but avoiding friction at the point of entry is vital to maintaining high levels of trade in agricultural goods with our largest market.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) described the proposals as “an important breakthrough in delivering a clear vision for a post-Brexit UK”.

He added that the plans, as described by Prime Minister Theresa May, would give farmers and rural businesses more confidence about the future. However, he noted that the proposals still have to be negotiated and agreed with EU officials.