Brexit risks are still looming over the industry
An agreement between the EU and the UK chief negotiators has been reached, which is backed by agri-food chain representatives who are hoping for swift ratification in UK Parliament tomorrow. Nevertheless, this represents only one step in securing the ties between the two markets in the future, as NFU President Minette Batters observed. "We must remember that if this deal is agreed by UK and EU Parliaments in the coming days, it only determines how the UK withdraws from the EU and does not determine the long-term future of UK’s and EU’s relationship.
It is vital that the government has a long-term aspiration to ensure that British farming standards are not undercut by an ambition to open up British markets to food which would be illegal to produce here and that there is free and frictionless trade with the EU in the long term. We have had precious little reassurances on these issues so far and we look to government to be clear about its ambitions for British farming, which provides affordable, safe home-grown food produced to some of the highest standards in the world,” she said in a press release.
According to official data, in 2017, EU-27 agri-food exports to the UK amounted to €41 billion (US$45.6), while UK exports to the EU reached €17 billion (US$18.9 billion).
At the same time, EU agri-food associations Copa and Cogeca, CELCAA and FoodDrinkEurope have similarly called for swift ratification of this deal before the end of October. “Everything must be done to prevent the UK from leaving the EU without an agreement,” the organizations assert in a joint statement. Their leaders also insist on getting a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with zero tariffs and quantitative restrictions between the EU and the UK to ensure the continuity in the supply chain across Europe. ȚOn behalf of the European agri-food chain, we will continue to promote a comprehensive and deep FTA between the EU and UK, following the UK’s departure from the EU,” conclude the organizations.