UK meat exports at the risk of losing the EU market
The British Meat Processing Association (BMPA) warns the government that clarification on what export certification and tariff arrangements will be in place after the Brexit transition period must be presented by September otherwise meat exports to the EU may be at risk.
Orders, particularly from European retailers, are planned 3-4 months in advance to allow for pricing, barcoding and any promotions that need to go on the packaging, stated BMPA.
"There is a worrying lack of information coming out of Government on the crucial issues of the formal approval of the UK to export meat products to the EU and the approval of our meat plants. If this process is delayed till the autumn there will be huge uncertainty about our status from 1 January and UK exporters will not be able to agree on forward contracts. There is also a deep concern over provision of an army of extra veterinary inspectors that will be required by law as soon as the transition period ends. These additional vets will need to sign-off consignments of EU bound meat products. Currently, nobody is taking responsibility for these issues and a lack of certainty could see export orders grind to a halt," warns Nick Allen, CEO, BMPA.
The risk of losing access to the EU market is amplified by the uncertainties regarding tariffs for British meat products. "To compound the problem, our EU customers may well be saddled with tariffs of up to 40% on UK meat exports. If these arrangements are not in place soon, our long time EU customers will be confronted with multiple risks which they won’t be prepared to take. Without knowing what the price will be or even if they’ll be allowed to bring particular goods into the country, committing to any orders or supply contracts that extend after 31 December will make no sense whatsoever to EU buyers or, indeed, customers elsewhere in the world," added Mr Allen.
The British Meat Processors Association is urgently calling for the Government to release badly needed information on Export Health Certificates and to produce guidance on what tariffs exporters can expect to be applied to meat products well before September this year. Without clarity and certainty, millions of pounds of export trade and many jobs could be lost, said the association.