Agriculture continues to be hugely important to the French economy and its success depends heavily on the functioning of the EU's internal market.
Heloise Pestel, agricultural adviser to the French embassy in the UK, reported on the largest agricultural sector in the EU at the French people's annual NFUS conference.
“There is a close connection between the terroir and our protected geographical indicators (PGI). There are also high demands on food safety, environmental standards and animal welfare. That is the context we are starting from, ”she said.
As a former agricultural trade negotiator in previous WTO rounds, Ms. Pestel said: "A new CAP is obviously needed, but we need a coherent EU trade policy that ensures a level playing field and protects our sensitive sectors."
It may have sounded very French, but Ms. Pestel made herself popular with her Scottish farmers by saying, "Don't worry. French agriculture will always shine a light for you. "
Geoff Ogle, General Manager of Food Standards Scotland, warned his NFUS audience that his regulatory priorities would not likely make him popular with farmers.
Food safety had to be protected at all costs.
Trade agreements would initiate the Brexit process, but once agreements were made, a process of audits, inspections and new regulations would begin.
“Authorities like FSS are held accountable if something goes wrong. One thing is certain: the further we move away from legal approximation, the more difficult it will be, ”said Ogle.
One of the main tasks will be to create new risk analysis mechanisms to replace the currently used EU systems. Some of these decisions are underway and we have to ask ourselves how this will affect the UK single market.
"One thing is certain. Consumers clearly expect food standards to be met. "
When asked how consumers become aware of imports that are made to lower standards, Ogle believed that labeling foodstuffs was very important to raise awareness.
There was no guarantee that these imports would be acceptable to the public, but this ignored the unknown temptation to lower prices.