WELSH farming leaders have reacted angrily to the UK Government’s trade agreement with New Zealand. 

The Farmers’ Union of Wales said the deal “shows a willingness by the UK Government to undermine UK farming and food security in return for negligible benefits to the economy” while the NFU Cymru union said it viewd the deal with “great apprehension”. 

Britain has been negotiating a free trade deal with New Zealand for 16 months and has now announced an agreement in principle

Trade experts have said it will deliver marginal benefits to the UK economy and new trading opportunities will be greater to New Zealand which has a population of around 5 million people while the UK has a population of around 67 million. 

Welsh farming leaders however fear greater access to the UK market for New Zealand producers will further squeeze their costs and threaten family farms. 

FUW president Glyn Roberts said: “The UK Government’s own figures show that the economic benefits for the UK of this deal are microscopic. That’s not surprising given the population of New Zealand is lower than that of Scotland. 

“The winners in this deal will clearly be New Zealand as it allows them to up their exports of food to the UK, representing a major threat to Welsh and GB farmers as well as to our food security.” 

The deal follows the announcement of an in principle agreement on a free trade deal with Australia, earlier this year, which farmers also feared as the country is a major agricultural exporter and say production methods and regulations will give it a competitive advantage. 

READ MORE: 'UK-Australia trade deal unlikely to impact Welsh farmers'

John Davies president of the NFU Cymru union said: “I view this latest announcement with great apprehension for future generations, and as further confirmation of the UK Government’s agenda of liberalising trade with some of the world’s largest agri-food exporters, an agenda which has the potential to seriously threaten Welsh farming in return for no tangible benefits that we can see. 

“There are a host of other large agricultural exporters who will be monitoring this latest development and will naturally insist on similar levels of access for their producers.” 

The deal covers all trade between Britain and New Zealand but farming is seen as one of the most vulnerable sectors to increased exports. 

The UK Government’s Department for International Trade (DIT) said trade between the two nations was worth £2.3 billion last year and that is set to grow under the deal. 

READ MORE: Welsh farmers unions respond to MPs' report on UK-Aus deal

DIT said the deal would “remove barriers to trade and deepen access for our advanced tech and services companies”, and it would also make it easier for small businesses to take advantage of the New Zealand market. 

Tariffs as high as 10 per cent will be removed on a huge range of UK goods, from clothing and footwear to buses, ships, bulldozers and excavators. 

While high-quality New Zealand products such as sauvignon blanc wine to manuka honey and kiwi fruits, will be cheaper to buy. 

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan told British farmers they should not be worried by the deal and said it was a “possibility” they could start sending lamb to New Zealand. 

However speaking on Radio Wales Wyn Evans, the chairman of the NFU Cymru’s livestock board, said he doubted New Zealand which already produces more lamb than it can eat, will want to import Welsh produce. 

He said: “I think we have to be realistic we are very unlikely to export any red meat to New Zealand. It’s unlikely to be a market for our produce.”

READ MORE: Australia FTA will 'give away' protections for Welsh farmers

The deal will see all quotas on lamb lifted after 15 years, but before that there will be a quota of 35,000 tonnes for the first four years, then 50,000 additional tonnes thereafter. 

However the quota will only be accessible once the existing quota that the country has through the World Trade Organisation of 114,000 tonnes is filled to 90 per cent, and officials insisted that as it stands New Zealand currently use only half of that, and that there are also safeguards in place to protect farming. 

The FUW said in the first year of the deal it would allow a 30 per cent increase in the amount of New Zealand lamb that can be imported to the UK without tariffs, with this figure rising to 44 per cent after five years, followed by further increases and ultimately the removal of all limits after 15 years. 

NFU Cymru said the Welsh Government needs to reconsider how it intends providing support to farmers in wake of the UK’s approach to trade deals. 

Plaid Cymru’s spokesperson on agriculture in Westminster, Ben Lake MP backed farmers over fears other large agricultrual exporters will be pushing for greater access to UK markets.

The Ceredigion MP said: "A precedent has now been set for unfettered access for agricultural produce. Farmers in big farming nations across the world, from the US to Brazil, will now expect the same.

"Warm words won’t cut it. Welsh farmers deserve an explanation of how their livelihoods will be protected in light of these trade deals.”

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader and Member of the Senedd (MS) Jane Dodds said: “The rush to sign this trade deal could have lasting impacts on the Welsh economy and rural life in Wales, especially in mid and north Wales where we have such vibrant sheep farming communities.  

“Furthermore the benefits of this deal, alongside that of the Australian deal do not even begin to cover the lost trade revenue caused by Brexit, with the lost trade between the UK and Ireland in the last six months eclipsing that of the supposed benefits of the Australia trade deal over the next 15 years.” 

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In the House of Commons trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan told MPs: “This marks a significant step towards the UK’s aim to join the £8.4 trillion CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) free trade area. 

“Both Prime Ministers have heralded the new partnership that will take on some of the biggest global challenges from climate change to gender equality and respect for indigenous communities, and the future of digital trade.” 

Ms Trevelyan insisted the deal is part of the government’s commitment to “build back better”, bringing the benefits of trade to level up all parts of the country. 

Additional reporting: PA

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