This morning Pascal Lamy, the former EU Trade Commissioner, suggested in the Times that the UK’s beef industry could be threatened by tariffs up to 70% if Britain left the the EU.
David Davis said:
“There is a certain irony in Mr Lamy threatening Britain’s trade with France in beef, when that beef trade was virtually destroyed by the European Union’s overreaction to the BSE crisis, with the active connivance of the French Government. Even today British beef exports stand at less than a third of their size in 1995.
Whilst this no doubt demonstrates the ruthless approach of the French when it comes to aggressively protecting their own farming sector, Mr Lamy has not allowed for the fact that their exports to us are considerably more than twice ours to them. Moreover, agriculture is an area where the World Trade Organization allows enormous levies.
Annoyed as the European establishment like Mr Lamy might be, I doubt very much that French farmers will allow themselves to be used as pawns in a political game.”