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Free Trade Agreements

Volume 687: debated on Thursday 14 January 2021

What steps her Department has taken to help ensure that (a) farmers and (b) food producers in Wales can benefit from future free trade agreements. (910754)

Global Britain’s trade agreements will benefit food and drink producers and farmers by driving up growth and opening new markets to them. Just in 2019, Wales exported £123 million-worth of meat products globally, so a future trade deal with the US and others could reduce barriers. A deal with the US alone could boost the Welsh economy by £154 million, helping to create more jobs in my hon. Friend’s constituency.

On Christmas day, a local sheep farmer knocked on my door to give me a Christmas present—a box of swedes—as a thank you for the Prime Minister reaching our historic free trade agreement with the EU. Sheep farmers in Brecon and Radnorshire have warmly welcomed the deal with the EU, the largest market for Welsh lamb, but my farmers are not prepared to stand still; opening new markets through rewarding trade deals is essential to future-proofing the sheep sector. Will the Minister confirm that the Government will look to give sheep farmers across Brecon and Radnorshire every possible opportunity to get their lamb across the world?

My hon. Friend is a great champion of the farming industry in her constituency and across Wales, and I can assure her that the Government are committed to securing future free trade agreements that will open up markets for farmers in Wales. Indeed, the United Kingdom-Japan free trade agreement is particularly beneficial, as it will protect Welsh lamb under the new agreement on geographical indicators. Sheep farmers such as Rhug Estate have already welcomed the opportunity to export their high-quality lamb to Japan.