The Belgian fruit sector is worried about Brexit repercussions, as fruit exports make up over 5 per cent of the country's agricultural output, with the yearly pear production is estimated at 330,000 tons. Industry experts say the main problem is the uncertainty.
In the auction room at the Belgium Fruit Valley they are worried any new tariffs could skew prices - both upwards and downwards. Marc Evrard, Commercial Director of Belgium Fruit Valley: "Traditionally we have been exporting outside of the EU as well so we are used, as an organisation, and our trade partners are used as companies, to deal with those kinds of specifications. It's just that in relation to the UK, we see a shift of balance."
They export many different types of fruit, but pears are the big one here - and 8 per cent are destined for Britain. While the producers are concerned about quantities and prices, they say that in a no deal scenario, one of their main worries is about hiccups in the supply chain, and much like the packing production line, one issue can throw the whole thing out of sync.
According to euronews.com, a No Deal could result in blockages on both sides of the channel while authorities check whether duties on fruit like this has been paid by the British firms importing it.
The orchards here are closed off for winter but Belgian economists are warning that by the time they're in fruit again, this economy will have had to adapt.
Dutch fruit and vegetable exporters fear that a failure to strike a solid agreement could lead to long customs queues and fresh produce rotting in trucks. The Netherlands exported about €2 billion-worth of fruit and vegetables to Britain last year, and its port, Rotterdam, is the main hub for cargo passing from other EU member states to Britain.
If Britain crashes out of the EU without a trade deal, its imports of fresh produce will be subject to time-consuming health and customs checks.
To prevent long lines at ferry terminals, the Port of Rotterdam last year prepared emergency overflow parking spaces for up to 700 trucks, in anticipation of back-ups caused by Britain’s departure from the European Union.
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