Delays at the border are being blamed for a halving in exports of British fruit to the EU, as well as impacting other sectors such as dairy and flowers. Data from HMRC shows that in the year to March 31, 2021, the UK sold £248.5m worth of fruit to the EU, which dropped to £119m the next year and was £113.8m for the year to March 2023.
“Long delays at UK ports are dissuading many fruit farmers from sending their produce abroad,” said Rebecca Copping, a partner at accountants Hazelwoods. The decline has been put down to new trade barriers, including mandatory health certificates on fresh and chilled food, as well as customs paperwork for all exports.
Similar measures are due to be phased in on EU imports from October, raising concerns about the threat to future imports of fresh cheese, olive oil, and dried meats from Spain and Italy.