Exiting the European Union (Agriculture)

Part of Integrated Care Regulations – in the House of Commons at 10:37 pm on 18th March 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Neil Parish Neil Parish Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee 10:37 pm, 18th March 2019

The hon. Lady raises a good point. Milk production is a good example. Organics is a selected market; although a good number of people buy organics, there is a ceiling of around 10% of people who actually buy organics overall. Therefore, exporting organic food is as important as importing it. On the dairy side of organics, the big milk co-operative Omsco trades very successfully into the United States, but that has to be maintained—and we must have the certification, and all these other things must work, in order for that to happen. That is why we have to be very careful to ensure that we can trade successfully in a no-deal situation.

I spent a number of years in the European Parliament, so I know that our great French cousins are able, for example, to stop cheese coming in from Holland when they suddenly decide that there might be a problem with it and that it might actually help the French market to keep it out for a while. The European Commission then challenges them, and eventually they capitulate and the cheese comes back in from Holland. The point that I am making quite clearly tonight is: let us go in with our eyes open to the fact that there could well be a problem in the future if we do not get these rules right and recognised, and if we do not actually get that produce back into the EU. As we leave the European Union, it is very important that we take as much of trade with us as possible, and then we can also have future trading relationships across the world.

Thank you for letting me speak in this debate, Madam Deputy Speaker.