Dairy Products: Imports

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 17th November 2020.

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Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Labour, Swansea West

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the London School of Economics report, Vulnerabilities of Supply Chains Post-Brexit, published in September 2020,what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the estimate in that report that predicts a 55 per cent increase on the price of 99 per cent of dairy product imports after the end of the transition period in the event that no deal is agreed.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government has been clear that it seeks a free trade agreement with the EU, based on friendly cooperation and maintaining tariff and quota free access. The UK is a significant importer of food and other goods, and avoiding tariffs should be beneficial to both sides, given our shared commitment to high regulatory standards.

However, in the event that we have a trading relationship with the EU along the same lines as Australia, without a free trade agreement, and the UK Global Tariff applies, we have a highly resilient food supply chain. Consumers in the UK have access to a range of sources of food, including countless domestic food producers. This will continue to be the case after December 2020. As part of the UK Global Tariff, the Government has sought a balance between the interests of consumers and producers to benefit the UK economy as a whole.

There are many factors that impact the cost of food, including commodity prices, exchange rates and oil prices. This will not change at the end of the Transition Period. The UK Government does not directly control these factors but we work closely with industry to promote transparency for consumers and internationally to promote open global markets.

Moreover, the UK's new independent trade policy enables us to take control of more levers to facilitate competitive trade and to forge new trading relationships around the world in the interests of UK agri-food businesses and consumers.

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