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Brexit could cost farmers in developing countries £1bn in tax hikes

Staff Writer | March 7, 2017
New figures show Brexit could make or break farmers from some of the poorest countries.
Vanuatu farmers
Fair trade   The Fairtrade Foundation and Traidcraft:
It could do that by creating fairer trade or it could result in at least £1 billion in extra taxes, warned the Fairtrade Foundation and Traidcraft.

A new report ‘Brexit: Let’s change trade for good’ launching on 6 March, during Fairtrade Fortnight 2017, reveals the potential untold human cost behind Brexit for millions of people around the world. However the report reveals there is also an unprecedented opportunity for the UK to become a world leader in fairer trade.

EU measures currently mean products the UK imports from the poorest countries are exempt from charges or taxes.

But if equivalent rules aren’t put in place by our government, 116 countries stand to lose out. This would seriously harm the incomes of the many people that produce some of the UK’s favourite products, be it coffee, sugar or bananas.

Fairtrade Foundation and Traidcraft urge the Government to offer the poorest countries preferential, non-reciprocal access to the UK market, warning that those countries could face unfair competition if politicians sign free trade agreements with wealthy competitors.

Speaking ahead of the report’s launch, the Fairtrade Foundation’s CEO Michael Gidney also highlighted the opportunities that could emerge for the UK and developing countries if trade policies are written in a way that benefits poor communities, for example making it easier for them to export more valuable products.