Brexit's impact on agriculture, trade, and the repatriation of powers inquiry launched

21 September 2017

The Welsh Affairs Committee has re-launched its inquiry into the impact of Brexit on Wales, building upon work begun in the last Parliament. In July 2016, the Committee launched an umbrella inquiry into the implications of the EU referendum result, with an initial focus on Welsh Agriculture.

This inquiry will continue with a renewed focus on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill and Trade, as well as Agriculture.

The agricultural sector in Wales employs 4.1% of the working population, which is proportionally more than the 1.4% of the UK’s working population. The outcome of Brexit negotiations will therefore undoubtedly impact Welsh agriculture, and wider trading trends. EU membership has dictated agricultural support and funding through the CAP, trade arrangements through the single market and external tariffs and supply of labour to UK farms. The Committee will examine the challenges facing agricultural trade in Wales when the UK leaves the EU, and how levels of trade and export of Welsh food and drink should be protected and maintained.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill provides that once the UK leaves the EU, powers in devolved areas currently held by Brussels will be returned to Westminster, and not the devolved nations. This is justified by the UK Government as a way of continuing existing restrictions while decisions are taken on where common policy approaches are needed. The Committee will examine the implications of the Bill (as drafted) for the Welsh devolution settlement, as it relates to UK-wide policy-making.

Chair's comments

Commenting on the launch of the inquiry, Committee Chair David T. C. Davies said:

"As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, the implications for the Welsh Agriculture and Trade sectors, as well as the devolution settlement, are matters of considerable debate. With this newly launched inquiry, the Committee will examine the issues, gauge opinion and make recommendations as to the best way forward for Wales."

Terms of reference

The terms of reference of the inquiry seek to address the following points:

  • The implications for the Welsh devolution settlement of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill as drafted.
  • UK-wide policy making: which EU competencies should be transferred to the National Assembly for Wales after Brexit? How should UK-wide common policy frameworks be structured, and what inter-parliamentary mechanisms would be needed to scrutinise such frameworks?
  • How should agricultural funding be allocated in Wales post-Brexit? Should Wales develop its own policy or be part of a wider UK policy?
  • What are the current mechanisms for engagement between the devolved administrations and the UK Government on trading matters?
  • What are the challenges facing agricultural trade in Wales when the UK leaves the EU? How should the level of trade and export of Welsh food and drink be protected and maintained?

Interested parties are requested to keep to a word limit of 3,000 words and to focus on key areas that the Committee should investigate during its inquiry.

The deadline for written submissions will be Tuesday 31 October 2017. Written evidence should be submitted via the inquiry page.

The Committee is expected to begin the public evidence sessions for this inquiry in the second week of October, and witnesses will be announced in due course.

Further information

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