Food production at risk from protectionism, says NFU

Global economic recovery could be put at risk by a resurgence in protectionism, NFU president Peter Kendall has claimed.

Speaking at the British Crop Production Council congress in Glasgow, Mr Kendall said there were serious implications for food production if trade barriers came back into place.

“I worry about the impact of protectionism on producers,” he told delegates.

“If countries pull up the drawbridge to restrict grain exports and protect their urban populations from food price rises, as at least 30 countries did that in 2007/08, there’s got to be less of an incentive for farmers in those countries to step up production in response to global market demand.”

Mr Kendall said one problem was that World Trade Organisation rules were geared towards resolving arguments about market access and dumping – the kind of things seen in a long-term buyers’ market.

“But they don’t address the kind of issues that arise in a sellers’ market like the one we’ve seen over the last couple of years – concerns about security of supply and unfair suspensions of supply,” he added.

“These issues need to be addressed and rules agreed.”

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