October 30, 2019


UK farmers wary of cheap battery egg imports after Brexit


The National Farmers Union (NFU) said the government has overlooked proposed tariff sanctions on cheaper US caged egg imports, reported The Guardian.


Minette Batters, president of NFU, said supermarkets will import cheaper eggs from US battery farming cages that were banned in the UK since 2012.


In the government's last temporary tariff schedule, eggs, horticulture and grains such as wheat were rated at 0%. These tariffs will affect imports and will be implemented after Brexit, whether a deal has or has not been finalised with the European Union (EU).


Batters said there has been no engagement on the issue between farmers and the government. She said the 0% tariff schedule means cheaper battery-farmed eggs, or eggs produced in systems illegal in the UK, will undercut British egg prices.


She added that the UK has maintained high food safety standards through the red tractor farm-assured certification, RSPCA inspections and food traceability among others.


While the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said new deals will be made after new tariffs are enforced for one year, the NFU said that timeline will not be sufficient for local farmers in the wake of incoming cheaper competition.


DEFRA said they will ensure Brexit will protect UK farmers and accept no compromise on the country's high food and welfare standards. The temporary tariff aims to protect the farming industry, support British employment and avoid consumer price increases if the UK leaves EU without a deal.


Under the World Trade Organisation, the UK government must publish a tariff schedule with rates for all potential imports.


The UK consumes 12 billion eggs a year, with 90% laid by British hens.


-   The Guardian

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