UK meat exports left rotting at ports due to ‘hellish’ paperwork

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UK meat shipments have been left rotting at ports this week due to burdensome paperwork brought about by Brexit.

Though current trade volumes are just 20 per cent of normal levels as exporters ‘test’ the system, delays saw processors reject UK shipments and cancel future orders, sparking concern that UK meat exporters could face ‘serious and sustained losses’ if abandoned by European processors in favour of EU suppliers.

Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, said members had already been told by EU customers that they would be looking to Spain and Ireland to purchase product.

But AHDB analyst Duncan Wyatt remained optimistic that short-term issues would not see a huge shift away from British meat.

Responding to the disruption, Farming Minister Victoria Prentis acknowledged the customs forms were ‘hellish’, but added they could not be removed as they were an EU requirement.

She told a National Sheep Association meeting this week that the UK Government was doing all it could to smooth the process.

She said: “We have had very granular discussions with the French, the Irish and the Dutch in particular over the past few weeks about whether they require blue or red ink and whether each individual page should be stamped.”

Mr Allen called for the customs and certification system to be digitised, branding the existing paper-based system ‘a relic from the last century’.



by Hannah Binns / Farmers Guardian

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