In the aftermath of the UK referendum on EU membership, the agribusiness sector is facing considerable uncertainty.
There are many questions to be answered such as what type of relationship the country will have with the bloc post-‘Brexit’ and how a future UK farming policy will shape up.
UK agri-food businesses have made clear that maintaining access to the single market should be a priority for the UK in exit talks but there are a number of options on the table for what will potentially be one of the most complex political negotiations ever undertaken.
Next to full membership, an EEA/EFTA arrangement is seen as the next best thing as it avoids any commitment to the operation of the Common Agricultural Policy and will allow trade with the bloc to continue relatively unhindered.
But with curbing immigration seemingly the primary objective of the UK government this could be an unachievable aim and the prospect of a bilateral trade agreement or a ‘Hard Brexit’, trading under World Trade Organization rules, becomes more likely.
Meanwhile, there is concern about what the future holds for farming subsidies. Will the post-Brexit Government continue to finance these at current levels or dispense with them altogether?