A new report commissioned by HCC, Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) explored the impact of tariff and non-tariff measures (NTMs) in both deal and no-deal scenarios on beef and sheepmeat trade.
Domestic consumption of sheepmeat was expected to rise by 14% due to lowering prices. HCC expected the overall impact on the value of domestically produced meat to be down by 4% for beef and by 31% for sheepmeat.
Should the UK become a third country, frictionless trade with the EU would not be possible and the development and implementation of the required technology would take 10 years to complete.
HCC added: “Value deterioration, especially for fresh meat, arising from border-related delays due to physical checks and sampling accounted for more than 60% of NTM costs on checked loads. Smaller businesses are likely to be disproportionately impacted by NTMs, due to the regulatory burden and the cost of more checks over fewer loads.”
Commenting on the report, AHDB strategic insight manager Sarah Baker said that while the analysis was a representation of reality, it assumed producers would take no action in response to the price changes.
“In reality, they will adapt and some trade will continue, but the potential impact will be nonetheless substantial for the sheep sector,” she said. “Importantly, the recommendations in the report give us a basis for discussion with the industry and will feed into to our strategic direction for the future.”
Minimising trade friction
The report called for the UK and the EU to reach a robust mutual recognition agreement to reduce the need for official controls and minimise trade friction. This would encompass a fast-track or lighter-touch Authorised Economic Operator system to help businesses overcome some customs measures.
HCC also urged for implementation of an e-Certification system, better communication between UK and overseas regulatory authorities and training for exporting businesses to better understand regulatory procedures. There was also a call to make developing overseas markets a priority.
Meanwhile, last month, British beef was given the green light for commercial exports to China, following a series of inspections by Chinese delegates, in a deal worth £230m over five years.