The British Meat Processors Association has published a Brexit Impact Report which draws on the experiences of meat exporters to date, and has indicated that the initial ‘teething problems’ are not going away any time soon.
The report outlines the additional cost to the UK meat industry per year to trade with the EU as being between £90-120 million as a result of an increase in certification costs for each export consignment.
Most companies now expecting a permanent trade loss of at least 20%, with others anticipating up to 50% losses, as EU customers cancel orders because of longer delays and higher costs to import from the UK due to increased export times and reduces shelf-life for imported meat.
The report aims to differentiate between ‘teething problems’ and the more serious impediments to trade that are affecting British companies whose businesses rely heavily on trade with our nearest neighbour. It also offers constructive recommendations to address these problems.
Nick Allen, CEO of The British Meat Processors Association explained: “British companies who are dealing with the new issues on the ground are best placed to offer constructive solutions; but these solutions need support and investment from Government to build a new system that is fit for purpose.”
The report focuses on three key areas that, if addressed, it says could improve the UK’s ability to hold on to trade with EU customers:
- Inspection and certification – learning from other more efficient and cost-effective systems
- Electronic documentation – moving from an antiquated paper-based system to a modern, integrated digital system
- Common Veterinary Area – negotiating a more robust agreement with the EU to follow parallel rules which would ease problems sending food to both the EU and to Northern Ireland
Mr Allen added: “The export hurdles we face are now in plain sight and are not going away. We need Government to urgently re-engage with both the industry and the EU to work out detailed and lasting solutions. The British Meat Processors Association and its members stand ready to consult with Government and map out those solutions”