Failing to conclude a trade agreement between the EU and the UK would have serious consequences for the agrifood sector, major EU agrifood stakeholders said on Thursday June 4th.
As the fourth round of negotiations on the EU-UK future relationship draws to a close, groups working in the sector have expressed their concern, with Farmers association Copa-Cogeca, the European liaison committee for agricultural and agrifood trade Celcaa, and FoodDrinkEurope, saying there is a “growing risk that no agreement will be reached before the end of the current transition period.”
They stressed that a combination of ‘no agreement’ and ‘no extension’ of transitional arrangements, combined with the introduction of tariffs and the potential for regulatory divergence, would “severely disrupt integrated supply chains” and agri-food trade between the EU and the UK, which amounted to €58 billion in 2019.
Will Surman, Director of Public Affairs & Communications, told EURACTIV that the consequences of a no-deal fallout could include “a major decrease in export volumes from the EU to the UK, a significant fall in revenue, and consequential job losses.”
He added that the impact on SMEs, farmers and agri-cooperatives would be particularly detrimental. “We regret that the UK government is currently opposed to any extension of the post-Brexit transition period beyond 2020,” the statement reads. “The transition should be of sufficient length for businesses to plan and prepare for any FTA arrangements, and to avoid a cliff-edge situation.”