British poultry and cattle farmers could face huge financial losses if free trade talks conclude between the EU and South American countries that do not recognize the high production and welfare standards that UK farmers adhere to, warns the UK’s National Farmers’ Union (NFU).

The NFU has expressed its “grave concerns” after the EU Commission agreed to restart negotiations with the Mercosur trading bloc. It believes that increasing levels of imported beef and poultry could negatively impact on EU producers and dent consumer confidence.

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NFU poultry board chairman Charles Bourns commented: “Trade liberalization might sound tantalizing to EU trade commissioners, but to poultry farmers floods of cheap South American poultry meat is the last ting the sector needs at this point in time.”