Supply chain · 27 February 2018

Access to EU trade deals vital to food and drink export growth post-Brexit

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The Food and Drink Federation has highlighted that preferential trade deals are the key to export success post-Brexit as the EU27, and the countries with which it has trade agreements, make up the lion-share of Britain’s food and drink export market.

Failure to maintain access to the European Union’s preferential trade deals could have serious implications for the food and drink industry. Currently, exports to these markets are valued in excess of 2bn to UK producers, so this comes as a stark warning for the industry.

The warning comes from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), which reports that the EU has more than 30 agreements in place with around 60 countries, who contributed 2.3bn of the UK’s total food and drink export figure of over 22bn last year. Of these countries, the biggest customers include Canada, South Korea, South Africa, Mexico and Norway.

The EU, combined with those markets with which it has trade deals, account for over 70 per cent of the UK’s food and drink export value over 15bn.

As the UK prepares to leave the EU, it is crunch time for the food industry continued access to each of the EU’s trade deals is crucial for future growth. According to the FDF, to achieve this, the government will need to secure an agreement with each third country, and in each case with the EU, that includes a fair share of tariff-rate quotas.
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Ian Wright CBE, Director General, FDF, said: Brexit presents an opportunity to sell more of our fantastic food overseas, but in order to do that we must ensure that we have appropriate access to our largest trading partners in place once weve left the EU.

Elsa Fairbanks, Director, Food & Drink Exports Association (FDEA), said: We are delighted that global sales of food and drink from the UK continue to grow in line with the FDF’s industry ambition to increase exports of branded food and non-alcoholic drink by a third to 6bn 2020.



Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Business Advice. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.

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