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HCC chair Catherine Smith warned against introducing lower environmental and welfare standards through hasty trade deals that disadvantage UK producers. 

“It would be economically foolish, morally wrong and globally irresponsible to drive UK customers to buy less sustainable alternatives,”​ she warned.  

‘Own goal’ 

“It’s effectively exporting our emissions and, as UK government officials have admitted, is also likely to reduce employment in domestic farming. Failure to do this would, in football terms, be a disastrous own goal.” 

Smith challenged trade negotiators to get a deal that favoured UK producers in their next round of talks with countries such as India and Canada and those in the Middle East. 

“Global food shortages and international supply chain disruption have re-focused attention on food security,” ​she added. This is absolutely the right time to celebrate the benefits of producing high-quality food close to home,” 

Exposing fragilities  

Smith went on to highlight the war in Ukraine as one of the many worrying uncertainties facing the UK food and drink industry which had exposed fragilities that already existed in global supply chains. 

“We are at a tipping point for what could be permanent change – our responses have to be built from within; how to take Wales’ farming success story to the next level,”​ Smith continued. 

“We have solutions. We can all be hugely proud of The Welsh Way of sustainable production – our non-intensive system of producing high-quality protein on marginal land. It has set a high water mark, below which some of the world’s intensive farming systems find themselves falling fathoms short.”