This weekend, Bill joined an expert panel on Radio 4’s Farming Today to look at the practical implications of leaving the EU with or without a deal.
Debating the impact of the UK’s departure from the EU on Britain’s agriculture industry, Bill commented:
“I think it is the dawn of a very exciting change for farming.
Many people did not believe that Boris would put forward a sensible deal but he has. The EU must now consider the necessary compromises.
The tariffs we have seen so far are responses to a worst case scenario that the Government has published in order for people to see what a worst case could be. However, what we all actually want is a future trading relationship with our European friends and partners, not this negative tariff-based regime.
Our focus is therefore on getting the best possible deal for the future of the UK’s businesses and communities, and that is what the Government is trying to do.”
On Environmental Standards:
“We are dealing with the Withdrawal Agreement at this stage, but the future trading arrangement is where regulations like environmental standards will be agreed.
It is important that people remember we didn’t vote to leave the EU because we didn’t like their environmental standards. We voted to leave because we had no control over them.
I think that people do like EU standards by and large, and that as they are mostly desirable we will keep them.
Where I think the advantage lies is that we can also improve on them, so that we can have standards that are far more specific to the UK.
We will therefore be able to raise our standards and have better environmental regulations than the EU.
I don’t think the EU will have a problem with that. What I want to see is the EU agreeing that we don’t need all these tariffs.
At this stage we must prepare people. That is why it is in everybody’s interests for us to move forwards as quickly as possible to arrive at the part where everybody benefits, which is the trade negotiation, rather than fighting over this element, which is the divorce part.”
Listen to the full debate at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m00092t3