FoodDrinkEurope backs frictionless Brexit

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

FoodDrinkEurope has backed the UK's calls for frictionless trade post-Brexit
FoodDrinkEurope has backed the UK's calls for frictionless trade post-Brexit

Related tags: Brexit, Regulation

European trade body FoodDrinkEurope lent its weight to UK food industry calls for frictionless trade when the UK leaves the EU next March.

The organisation said this could best be achieved through regulatory alignment on food standards and a suitable EU–UK customs union, devoid of duties or other border taxes.

“Ensuring continued regulatory alignment between the UK and the EU27​ [countries] is essential to avoid the emergence of new regulatory and administrative burdens as well as time-consuming checks at border posts,”​ FoodDrinkEurope stated.

“We also recommend that the UK Food Standards Agency participates in the workings of the European Food Safety Authority. This would allow future modification of regulation to be on a common scientific basis.”

Avoiding a hard border

It argued against a Free Trade Agreement, as this would likely include onerous rules of origin requirements, risk serious market disturbance in the UK and EU27 and undermine the aim of avoiding a hard border between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“With an EU–UK customs union and common tariffs vis-a-vis third countries, these issues can be prevented and harmful impacts for consumers across the EU and the UK can be avoided.”

As Prime Minister Theresa May headed to Brussels for the next round of Brexit talks, the cross-party Brexit committee published a report suggesting time was not on the government’s side to negotiate a favourable deal for industry.

Slow progress

Slow progress looked increasingly likely to push a deal back to the scheduled December summit, giving parliament very little time to debate and decide on issues ahead of the 29 March 2019 Brexit date set by Article 50.

The committee has suggested the UK should press for an extension to the deadline, political momentum for which appears to be growing.

At Food Manufacture’s​ Food Safety Conference on 21 June in Birmingham, speaker Nils Bings, partner and head of food law and regulatory compliance, FMCGs at law firm DWF, warned more than 7,000 EU rules had to be transposed into UK law as a result of Brexit.

Related topics: Legal

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