The notices, published on Friday (12 October), detailed the Government’s plans for the import of high-risk food, health marks on meat, fish and dairy products, trading gas and electricity, and the export and import of hazardous chemicals should there be a no-deal Brexit.
FDF chief executive Ian Wright said the Government notices demonstrated the “shambolic” no-deal Brexit that was taking shape and the “chaos that would ensue in such a scenario”.
“If the UK Government fails to deliver the rollover to EU trade agreements before March 2019, then UK food and drink will instantly lose access to more than 70 markets around the world. These are essential sources of a myriad of ingredients and produce,” warned Wright.
‘Most Favoured Nation tariffs’
“Reverting to often prohibitively high World Trade Organization Most Favoured Nation tariffs means higher prices and reduced choice for UK shoppers. It is deeply damaging for our export competitiveness and puts at risk hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs.”
Wright also warned that UK exporters of meat, fish and dairy would face further labelling burdens, and have to make immediate and costly changes to produce in order to remove EU health marks.
“Exporters of fish would also require a catch certificate for each consignment and fish coming into the UK would need a certificate to be submitted three days prior to the shipment arriving at port,” he said.
‘Threaten the success of UK export’
“The limited timeframe for such changes and the accompanying administrative hurdles further threaten the success of UK export sales to the EU, our largest export market.”
Even short-term disruption to exports from the UK could result in EU customers changing their source of supply, Wright added.
“This is all utterly dreadful. The Government must pull its finger out and deliver significant progress at this week’s European Council or start the process of extending the Article 50 deadline.
“The alternative may well be big impacts on the price and choice of food and drink in the UK. The public’s view on that is likely to be very swiftly evident.”
The last round of Brexit no-deal technical notices, published in September, came under similar fire from food industry trade bodies.