Farming is top priority for Brexit negotiators
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.