Just three months after the UK left the EU, the British meat sector has been affected by the "alarming impact" of Brexit which has made certain exports "unviable".
The additional cost of Brexit lies between £90 million (€104.6 million) and £120 million (€139 million) a year, according to estimates from the ‘Brexit impact Report’ published on Wednesday by the British Meat Producers Association (BMPA).
“Dismissing trade disruption at the borders as a short-term ‘teething problem’ is no longer credible. British meat companies are reporting systemic weaknesses in the current export system, mountains of red tape and a potentially permanent loss of trade of between 20 and 50%,” the report read.
It noted that, due to administrative complications, it can take up to three days time to get a green light from EU authorities to export, which "reduces the shelf life and value of meat.”
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The added cost of customs declarations, customs agents, freight forwarders, additional veterinary inspections which became required after the UK left the union "has made some exports unviable,” the report stated.
“We need the Government to urgently re-engage with both the industry and the EU to work out detailed and lasting solutions,” said Nick Allen, CEO of the BMPA.
The report suggested that to improve their ability to hold on to trade with EU customers, an inspection and certification system should be put in place.
It also stated that electronic documentation should replace the antiquated paper-based system and that a more robust agreement should be made with the EU regarding veterinary standards.
“British companies who are dealing with the new issues on the ground are best placed to offer constructive solutions, but these solutions need support and investment from the Government to build a new system that is fit for purpose,” Allen said.
Other sectors, including salmon farming, have experienced similar effects since Brexit, despite the free trade agreement signed just before Christmas between London and Brussels.
According to the British manufacturing association Make UK, more than a third of its members said in early March that they had lost sales since 1 January, mainly due to the cancellations of orders from customers in the EU due to fears of extra costs and increased delivery times.
The Brussels Times