(Brussels, 16 November 2017) Trade in agri-commodities and food and drink products represents 11% of bilateral trade flows between the EU27 and the UK. As a consequence of Brexit, unprecedented challenges and a high level of uncertainty prevails. With this in mind, the three key food chain partners call for specific measures to mitigate as much as possible any negative impact on the sector as a result of Brexit.
- Predictability to avoid the "cliff edge" scenario: This means keeping the 'status quo' during a transition period that allows existing trade and customs arrangements to continue largely unchanged until a new trade agreement enters into force. It also means that all changes should come into force simultaneously, at the date of entry into force of the new regime. In short, businesses need confirmation early on that no substantive changes will be required on the first day after the UK leaves.
- Comprehensive EU-UK Trade deal: Without an EU-UK trade agreement, movement of agri-food products in both directions will face tariffs and non-tariff barriers. While tariffs can be high for agri-food products, non-tariff measures will be equally demanding. The re-introduction of customs declarations could also be damaging in the context of intensive traffic in both directions. Any delays at customs will lead to goods being spoiled and food waste. Even more specifically, the Irish/Northern Irish border will require practical and creative solutions. EU27-UK trade would also face additional checks which would add costs for businesses and consumers, since sanitary and veterinary certification and inspection agreements are required with non-EU countries.
- Early clarification of the general rules that will be applied to rules of origin.
Celcaa, Copa-Cogeca and FoodDrinkEurope call for a comprehensive trade deal which would include provisions on customs facilitations; rules of origin; protection of geographical indications and mutual recognition in terms of food safety legislation, sanitary and phytosanitary certificates and regionalisation. They are committed to providing the expertise needed to the negotiators to help secure the best possible outcome.