Speaking at the International Dairy Federation (IDF) World Dairy Summit in Belfast last week Defra Secretary Michael Gove described the north’s dairy sector as “world beating” and vowed that the government would keep it at “the forefront of its mind” in the Brexit negotiations.
He also pledged to ensure that “supply lines remain solid, barriers are not erected and trade can go freely” when the UK leaves the EU.
“By leaving the European Union we are not leaving Europe and we certainly are not turning our backs on our friends and neighbours and business partners.
“We want to ensure that Britain’s role in the future is truly global – a global champion for free trade and a global champion for the high standards in agri welfare, environmental advancement and agriculture,” he said.
Let me assure you, the UK Government is wholly committed to doing everything required to make sure, not just here in the lush green pastures of Northern Ireland but across the world, that we do everything we can to support you,” the MP said.
He also re-iterated the government’s commitment to protecting the rights of both UK citizens working in the EU and vice-versa.
Also addressing the summit Irish EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan said the issue of free movement of people was “a difficult issue for the UK and for the EU for different reasons, and will require negotiations.” He noted that EU agri exports continued to grow even though the sector was still adjusting to the post-quota environment and added there is need for an ongoing commitment to sustainability ‘from farm to fork’.