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“Technical Rectification”, Trade & UK’s Brexit Double Act

Mainstream UK media have presented Brexit minister David Davis (left, without negotiating papers) as the public face of the country’s progress with Brexit talks. However, the press has studiously overlooked the back-room activities of the international trade minister Liam Fox, who has been rolling up his  sleeves and starting to size up Tariff Rate Quotas (TRQs) held by the European Union at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). In an extraordinarily wide-reaching plan described as a “Technical Rectification”, Fox is planning to unilaterally carve out what he judges to be the UK’s share of TRQ  tonnages for third country imports such as New Zealand sheepmeat and register the results with the WTO. The story emerged thanks to Sky News journalist Faisal Islam, but only because the TV chain was filming Fox in action at the WTO headquarters in Geneva. In the past, technical rectifications have been more limited in scope, but this editing is on an industrial scale: Fox is not waiting for Davis to get round to discussing trade with the European Commission before trying […]

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UK | A People’s Food Policy

A silver lining in the Brexit cloud is that people can radically rethink how food, farming and the rural space operate in the UK. What will this mean for direct payments, for environmental regulations, for food security – and who will do the hard work of farming? Finally, is some of this blue sky thinking of interest to the rest of Europe? […]

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New Report: Policies For Better Livestock Farming

A recent report for Eating Better points out that future policies towards livestock farming and trade in the UK and EU should support a shift to healthy sustainable diets. More coherent approaches to environmental objectives such as climate change, protecting nature and high animal welfare should be developed. […]

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Prime Minister May Floats Hard Brexit Plan For UK

UK prime minister Theresa May addressed he political party, the ruling Conservative party, at their conference at the start of the month. She tried to reassure the warring factions of that party that her plans for Brexit were on track. It’s clear she favours a hard – that’s complete – break from the EU, and not a soft – that’s partial – separation. […]

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Blank Sheet for UK Agriculture?

The UK faces the prospect of rethinking its agriculture from scratch during the Brexit process. Less than a month after the vote, farming minister George Eustice told BBC Wales that he could not guarantee future agricultural support programmes would be as generous as current EU subsidies. […]

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New UK Minister Leadsom’s Plans for Agri Payments

The UK’s new Minister with responsibility for farming and food may want to change how CAP and subsidies work. Pillar 1 type payments may be dropped and the delicate balance between farming and nature – especially on farms – may change radically. Miles King explains. […]

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How Brexit Threatens Britain’s Food Security

by Tim Lang, City University London The situation created by the British vote to leave the European Union is momentous for UK food. It is on a par with the Repeal of the Corn Laws of 1846 when Britain decided its Empire could feed it, not its own farmers. And it is as important as the creation of the Agriculture Act of 1947 when after two bruising wars in which the population faced serious risk of starvation, the country decided to put its food house in order – to produce more of what it could and look after the land. Those events set the tone and framework for UK food for decades after. Brexit will do the same. It doesn’t help that the political elites are now knifing each other in a distraction from the genuine, looming effects. My concern is that the security of food might get lost in the debacle. The UK must not let that happen. Food stocks are low in a just-in-time economy, an estimated three to five days’ worth. The […]