Meat sector report warns of long-term EU trade impact

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Brexit will cost the UK meat sector up to £120m/year in extra vet and administration charges alone, a British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) report has warned.

The BMPA’s Brexit Impact Report called on the government to appreciate the difficulties being encountered throughout the meat supply chain.

Report in numbers

  • Additional export costs of £90m-£120m/year
  • Exports 50% down year-on-year in January to February 2021
  • Predicted permanent trade loss 20-50%
  • Mixed meat products (groupage) shipments have ceased
  • Export customer base eroded by delays and increased costs of UK produce

It questioned the government’s assertion that the UK was only experiencing Brexit teething problems.

While paperwork mistakes had been made on both sides in the early days, a more concerning long-term picture was starting to unfold, the report said. The systemic problems pose a bigger challenge – for example, a 60-100% increase in certification costs for each export consignment. The new procedure, which includes additional customs charges and  and extra vet inspections, will add £90m-£120m/year and is here to stay.

However, the actual figure will be higher still, said the BMPA, because this does not take into account increased freight insurance costs, administration time, labour and haulage charges.

For some UK companies, these costs will mean the loss of EU customers and resulting staff cutbacks, the BMPA warned.

The lost markets could sound the death knell for some UK companies, because exporting further afield was not an alternative, it added. Many companies sell chilled, short shelf-life products that are only suitable for export to our near neighbours in the EU.



by Jonathan Riley / Farmers Weekly

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