NFU warns against import/export risk of Brexit

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Pulling out of the EU could have a considerable impact on UK imports and exports, the NFU has warned.

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) has published an open letter in which the body outlined what it perceives to be a considerable risk to UK imports/exports should the nation vote to leave the EU at this year's referendum.

Signed by some of the UK's most prominent figures within the horticulture and farming sectors, the letter comprised of 42 signatories and argued that "leaving the EU is too great a risk for UK farmers".

It claimed that should the UK and the EU proceed to go their separate ways in the years ahead, this would place a considerable pressure on the ability of those in the agriculture sector to import and export goods.

"The European single market accounts for 73 per cent of Britain's agri-food exports and gives us access to a market more than twice the size of the USA," the letter stated.

"Outside the EU, we could keep all or some of this market, but we would have to abide by EU regulations without a say in their formation and pay into the EU budget without receiving EU payments in return. We'd pay, but have no say."

As such, the group - which includes such high-profile names as NFU president Sir Peter Kendall, Scottish MEP George Lyon and former secretary to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Sir Jim Paice - believes the industry is now at a crossroads and the nation as a whole must think very carefully about the long-term implications of how they will vote on the UK's position within the EU in the months ahead.

Indeed, a vote to remain in the EU is something that Sir Peter believes would be in the best interest of the whole of the UK, as he added that "being part of the world's biggest trading bloc is crucial to the future of our farming and food industry".