Farm­ing is top pri­or­ity for Brexit ne­go­tia­tors

Irish Independent - Farming - - FINANCE -

AGRI­CUL­TURE will come top of the pri­or­ity list for Brexit ne­go­tia­tors when they em­bark on fu­ture trade talks this month.

EU and UK of­fi­cials last week agreed on a list of “top­ics for dis­cus­sion”, with “agri­cul­ture, food and fish­eries prod­ucts” com­ing high up the list, along with goods and cus­toms.

Ne­go­tia­tors have had two short meet­ings on the fu­ture relationship since EU lead­ers adopted their guide­lines for talks in March, but no sub­stan­tive progress has been made on the con­tent.

Both sides want to reach an agree­ment on the “frame­work” of a fu­ture trade deal by Oc­to­ber, though they dis­agree over how de­tailed that doc­u­ment will be.

The EU says that given the UK’s in­ten­tion to leave both the sin­gle mar­ket and cus­toms union, it can of­fer only a no-frills free trade agree­ment, along the lines of the EU’s ex­ist­ing deals with Canada or Ja­pan, which would ne­ces­si­tate spot checks on goods en­ter­ing the EU via North­ern Ire­land. The EU and UK are still dis­cussing a back-up solution that would keep North­ern Ire­land aligned with EU rules.

UK Brexit sec­re­tary David Davis said the list of pri­or­i­ties “re­flects the de­ter­mi­na­tion of both sides to achieve a broad part­ner­ship that stands the test of time”.

“Both the United King­dom and Euro­pean Union re­main com­mit­ted to reach­ing agree­ment on the terms of our fu­ture part­ner­ship by Oc­to­ber, in ad­di­tion to fi­nal­is­ing the With­drawal Agree­ment in­clud­ing the Pro­to­col on North­ern Ire­land,” Mr Davis said.

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