Remaining in the EU would give businesses greater certainty about the future, said Moy Park chief executive Janet McCollum.
“We are a European business and Europe is our market – and we are strongly in favour of the UK remaining within the EU,” said McCollum.
“Remaining in the EU gives businesses greater certainty about the future. Within the EU, we have open access to 27 markets and 500M consumers.
“In the event of a Brexit, no-one has been able to guarantee our continued access to those markets. Any move away from the free market in which we currently operate could increase tariffs, add administrative burdens and limit export opportunities.”
Four key uncertainties
The boss of the £1.4bn turnover company – which employs 12,000 people in Northern Ireland, England, France, Holland and the Republic of Ireland – highlighted four key uncertainties, she claimed, would be linked to a vote to leave the EU.
Those included doubts about: market access, access to labour, cross-border trade and the potential impact on the farming community.
Those uncertainties represented “compelling reasons” why the company backed continued EU membership, said McCollum.
“The EU has imperfections but it is a massive market which offers export security and it is our view that the UK should remain within it,” she added.
2 Sisters Food Group boss
McCollum’s defence of continued membership followed the support of a range of food and drink manufacturing bosses. Those included ceo of Greencore Patrick Coveney and 2 Sisters Food Group boss Ranjit Singh.
Yesterday David Cameron visited Greene King’s brewery in Bury St Edmunds in a bid to persuade staff to vote in favour of EU membership.
Last month, environment secretary Liz Truss urged food and drink manufacturing bosses to persuade their staff of the business benefits of EU membership.
Meanwhile, the anti-EU membership group Vote Leave set out its plans for life after Brexit today (June 15).
Vote Leave said its plans were “A framework for taking back control and establishing a new UK-EU deal after June 23.”
The campaign group said Parliament should take steps to end free movement and limit the power of EU courts.
Moy Park’s four Brexit uncertainties
1. Market access to 500M consumers
2. Access to labour
3. Cross-border trade implications
4. Potential impact on the farming community