A leaked report by European Parliament officials shows that British farmers seeking to sell genetically modified (‘GM’) crops in Europe could be hampered by trade barriers and tariffs averaging 14%. The report shows that the UK is developing new rules to make GM crop cultivation easier once it leaves the EU, but opposition to GM foods in several EU states has resulted in only one GM crop being approved by the bloc in the past 20 years. A spokesperson for the EU said: “…if the UK was tempted, after its withdrawal from the EU, to take a different approach to GMOs [genetically modified organisms] or chlorinated chickens, as we have read might be the case, this would considerably complicate its trade with the EU 27 – problems resulting from tariff and customs barriers to trade between the EU 27 and the UK may soon be compounded by the emergence of significant non-tariff barriers to trade following the non-participation of the UK in the disciplines of the internal market.” Baroness Parminter, the Liberal Democrat environment spokeswoman, said: “Small farming businesses will already be particularly badly hit by Theresa May’s reckless plans to leave the single market, which could see steep tariffs imposed on exports like beef, lamb and cheese. Lowering UK farming standards or relaxing rules on GMOs could make matters even worse, by throwing up even more barriers for the many farmers who rely on trade with Europe.”
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