David Cameron had a lot of reasons why Wales should stay in the EU in his speech today

David Cameron has delivered his most detailed pro-EU speech yet in Wales – with the anti-EU Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies sitting in the front row of his audience.

Speaking at the Welsh Conservative conference in Llangollen , the Prime Minister made a passionate case in favour of staying in the EU.

He said the Welsh economy would suffer greatly if the UK voted to leave in the referendum on June 23.

These were his reasons to stay in:

The future in the EU is ‘open, dynamic, confident, successful’

David Cameron at the Welsh Conservative Party Conference 2016 at Llangollen David Cameron at the Welsh Conservative Party Conference 2016 at Llangollen

“We’ll be in that EU Single Market with easy access to the 500 million consumers that it brings.

“We’ll see real opportunities for growth in key sectors like digital and energy and services, and agree important trade deals with America, Japan and India.

“We’ll keep the 100,000 jobs that are linked to Welsh access to the Single Market, and we’ll have a special status that keeps us out of the parts of Europe that we don’t need – out of the euro, out of the open borders, out of ‘ever closer union’, things that just don’t work for Britain.

“We will be stronger, safer and better off.”

The future out is expensive and risky

Prime Minister David Cameron with farm owners Richard (second right) and David Williams and Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb (right) during a visit to Tyfos Farm in Denbighshire ahead of giving a speech at the Welsh Conservatives Conference at Llangollen Pavillion

“Welsh farmers and food producers rely on the Single Market.

“It gives them access to 500 million consumers to whom they can sell their goods on an open and unrestricted basis.

“No tariffs, no barriers, no bogus health and safety rules designed to keep our products out.

“If we left the Single Market and relied on World Trade Organisation rules, some suggest the extra costs of exporting British beef would be £240m a year.

“An extra £90m would be added to the cost of British lamb exports.

“Just think what that would mean for Wales, where almost 50,000 jobs rely on agriculture, and where the EU accounts for over 90% of Welsh agricultural exports.”

We rely on the EU for food exports

Prime Minister David Cameron holds a Welsh Lamb during Visit to Tyfos Farm in Denbighshire

  • Mr Cameron said 98% of dairy products went to the EU – outside the Single Market, he said they could attract a 36% tariff.
  • 92% of beef exports went to the EU, and tariffs could be between 58% and 70%,
  • 97% of lamb exports went to the EU, but lamb could be slapped with a 40% tariff.

Free trade deals would take years to negotiate

The Welsh Conservative Party Conference 2016 at Llangollen David Cameron Prime Minister and Jonathn Evans

Mr Cameron said a Canadian-style free trade deal, proposed by some advocates of Britain leaving the EU, had taken seven years to negotiate and still wasn’t in place.

He said: “Think about that. Seven years of uncertainty for businesses not knowing what the arrangements would be for trading with Europe.

“Seven years of uncertainty for our farmers not knowing whether those markets would be open.

“Seven years of uncertainty for businesses wanting to invest in Britain to provide jobs and investment and livelihoods not knowing what our relationship would be with Europe.

“Those seven years of uncertainty – they cannot be justified, they can’t be in our national interest and we should reject that idea out of hand.”

And even then, it wouldn’t be ideal

Richard Stonehouse/PA Wire Prime Minister David Cameron with farm owner Richard Williams during a visit to Tyfos Farm in Denbighshire Prime Minister David Cameron with farm owner Richard Williams during a visit to Tyfos Farm in Denbighshire

He said that even in the Canada free trade scenario, there would be quotas and restrictions.

“A free trade deal like this would mean a limit on how many tonnes of meat we could export, and very high extra costs and restrictions,” he said.

“Those asking us to leave seem to think that those countries we would have just left will give us some sort of sweetheart deal.

But let me ask you this: why would French farmers both want a slice of the market share of Welsh sheep farmers or Welsh beef farmers?

“Why wouldn’t the Italians want to give a greater advantage to their cheesemakers?

“Why wouldn’t the Spanish use their negotiations to help their pig farmers?”

The ‘rest of the world’ won’t help farmers

David Cameron arrives in Llangollen David Cameron arrives in Llangollen

“The leavers say we should trade more with the rest of the world.

“Now of course we should and of course we will. But no-one should be naïve about how easy this is.

“We have a special relationship with the USA. But here’s a question for you: how much beef and how much lamb do you think we export to the USA?

“Answer: none, nothing, zero, zilch.

“And here’s the lesson: just because you have friendly relations with other countries it doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get a good deal.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that Welsh agriculture, Welsh farmers and Welsh jobs could suffer enormously if we left the Single Market. It’s just a fact.

Leave a Reply