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Growing uncertainty over "Brexit" as horticultural exports stagnate

Uncertainty in the fruit and vegetable export sector is growing as a result of the UK's exit negotiations from the EU, the third round of which has concluded without major advances, while Spanish exports to the UK in the first half of the year are the same for the same period of 2016, with 1,054 million euros, and the volume has been reduced by 1%, totaling 849.4 million tons, according to data from the General Directorate of Customs, processed by FEPEX.

The export of fruit and vegetables to the United Kingdom accounted for 12.3% of the total volume exported by Spain in the first half of 2017 which amounted to 6.8 million tonnes, maintaining its position as the third destination Spanish shipments behind Germany and France, highlighting the importance of this market for the Spanish sector.

The export of vegetables to the United Kingdom in the first half of the year amounted to 500,997 tonnes, 4% less than in the first six months of 2016, where the cabbage group, including cauliflower and broccoli, represented the highest volumes, with 99,269 tons. It is followed by the tomato, with 74,852 tons and the lettuce with 740,730 tons. The value of Spanish exports of vegetables to the United Kingdom amounted to 509.6 million euros, a figure similar to the same period in 2016.

Fruit exports to the United Kingdom in the first semester amounted to 348,463 tonnes (+3%), where citrus is the most exported fruit followed by watermelons with 32,206 tonnes, and strawberries with 34,484 tonnes. The best performance is observed in cherries, with a growth of 24%, totaling 10,617 tons, and raspberries with 87% totaling 4,469 tons. The fruit exports' value stands at 545.1 million euro (+1%).

Given the uncertainty generated by the future trade agreement that will determine fresh fruits' and vegetables' entry requirements into the British market, FEPEX considers it essential to avoid any kind of administrative or tariff barrier, which would adversely affect trade and competitiveness of Spanish and European productions in relation to third countries that supply the English market. It is also a priority to maintain the homogeneity of existing legislation in the different areas that affect the fruit and vegetable trade, such as sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

In 2016 UK horticultural imports from third countries amounted to 2,748,440 tonnes, up 6% over 2015, and with a great diversification among supplying countries, with South Africa at 347,058 tonnes, Colombia at 337,876 tonnes, Costa Rica with 306,346 tonnes and the Dominican Republic with 336,989 tonnes. Following the group of countries with the highest volumes suppliers of fruit and vegetables from the United Kingdom, Egypt, with 137,729 tonnes, Morocco, with 128,996 tonnes, Israel with 101,726 tonnes, or Turkey with 91,710 tonnes, according to data from the European Bureau of Statistics, Eurostat, also stand out.

Publication date: 9/11/2017


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