Convenors: Carmen Hubbard, Centre for Rural Economy, Newcastle University, UK; Adrienne Attorp, Newcastle University, UK (both contact points)

Topic: This panel will consider the impact of changing trade regimes on agriculture and on rural regions more broadly, both within Europe and globally.  Brexit’s impact on the UK and on other European countries will serve as a key case study, but we will also consider other significant trade regime changes (for example, accession to the EU, the implementation of NAFTA) and the impact these changes have had on rural regions in the countries affected.

In the case of Brexit, there is little doubt that the UK agriculture sector will be one of those most seriously affected by changes in the existing trade regime.  Not only is it dependent on trade relations both with the European Union and with the rest of the world, but it is also highly reliant on migrant labour, and is heavily subsidised and regulated under the present Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).  Rural communities are likely to be significantly affected as well, not only because of the challenges that agriculture will face, but beyond that, as there could be considerable changes to how rural development initiatives are funded and implemented once the UK leaves the CAP.

The impact of Brexit will not be felt in the UK alone.  For example, trade negotiations are crucial not only for the UK, but the rest of the EU; changes to immigration regulations will affect populations across Europe; and issues such as the ‘Irish Border Question’ have substantial implications for residents on both sides of the UK-Ireland border.

What the economic and social implications of Brexit will be remain open to debate and academic research.  In this panel discussion we are interested in exploring how the agriculture industry and rural communities will respond to Brexit, both within and outside the UK.  How will changes in policy impact agriculture production, trade, and rural development? What challenges will the agriculture industry, and rural populations more broadly, face?  What opportunities will be presented?  Whose voices will be heard most loudly as new policies are made? Are some stakeholders being ignored?

These questions will be considered against a backdrop of similar case studies from the EU and elsewhere.

Format: panel discussion