The Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) has urged the UK Government to work within the Northern Ireland (NI) protocol and to carefully consider the benefits of the concessions put forward by the European Union - or risk severe adverse impacts for UK businesses from a breakdown in trade relations between the UK and EU.
Following a meeting of the FUW’s Presidential Policy Team (PPT) on 13th October, members discussed the problems caused by the protocol, the EU’s proposals to allay these within the terms of what the UK agreed and signed up to, and the threat for Welsh agriculture and UK businesses of a breakdown in trade relations between the UK and EU.
It was concluded that the most pragmatic way forward was for the UK to consider the significant improvements put forward by the EU in a positive light, and that Welsh and UK businesses already facing major disruption due to issues such as worker shortages should not be placed at greater risk through the UK seeking to renegotiate an international agreement.
Attempts by the UK at a wholesale renegotiation of the protocol and its fundamental principles so soon after agreeing it have already brought the UK into disrepute on the international stage and in recent weeks led to stern warnings by US President Joe Biden.
The protocol, negotiated by the UK and EU in 2019 and finalised in December 2020, is designed to avoid the severe repercussions of the creation of an EU-UK hard border on the Island of Ireland by keeping NI in the EU Single Market and creating an effective GB-EU customs border in the Irish Sea.