Brexit’s unfinished business could negatively impact UK meat industry

The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) reports that serious barriers to trade remain unresolved ahead of the withdrawal period deadline.
calendar icon 4 August 2020
clock icon 2 minute read

The BMPA reports that there are multiple outstanding issues with the UK and EU Brexit negotiations that have the potential to seriously disrupt trade both to the EU and the rest of the world.

Since a number of British meat packers and processors want to honour their existing contracts and negotiate new ones, the BMPA has written to Defra to ensure that the key issues are resolved as quickly as possible, allowing business to continue without disruption.

Clarification needed before 31 December deadline

In the Conservative manifesto there is a commitment to “seeking to gain market access for British businesses and lowering the cost of trade" for them as well as to "redouble efforts to promote British business and UK exports and dismantle barriers to trade.”

If this is to happen, these are the issues that must be resolved before the end of the year, many of which could have been dealt with well before now, independently of any trade negotiations. The meat industry needs to know:

  • The UK will have country approval and plant listings for export to the EU.
  • That the UK has clarified what the healthmark will be for GB and NI and when they will be introduced so that companies can have confidence in purchasing packaging which have long lead in times
  • That the UK has communicated changes to certification and health mark arrangements with other 3rd country competent authorities and received acknowledgement and agreement from them
  • That there will be health certificates on which UK exports of chilled meat preparations, mincemeat and of poultrymeat MSM can continue to be sent to the EU market
  • That the UK has devised a workable scheme that allows groupage and mixed loads to be sent to the EU and that companies have advanced knowledge of the details so they can adapt
  • That the UK has sufficient affordable veterinary (or other) resource for the significantly increased certification requirements

From an import standpoint we also need clarification on a number of areas as a matter of urgency:

  • What the import certificate will look like for both EU and rest of world imports to the UK.
  • Clarification on how groupage and mixed loads can enter the UK from the EU.

Businesses cannot prepare with these questions unanswered and they cannot wait any longer for answers.

Read more about the story from the BMPA.

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