Brexit: Coalition Of Food Supply Chain Bodies Outline Joint Priorities On Trade

A coalition of leading trade bodies has issued a joint statement to the Secretary of States and Ministers at the Department for Exiting the European Union, the Department for International Trade, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy highlighting core objectives and priorities for UK trade policy. This is attached – it is embargoed to 00.01 Sunday 26th March 2017, prior to the triggering of Article 50.

The statement addresses the strategic importance for the UK of the food supply chain and builds consensus around a number of priority areas for trade. The food supply chain not only employs almost four million people and generates over £100 billion of value for the economy each year, but keeps the nation fed: ensuring consumers have access to a wide range of nutritional, quality foods at affordable prices.

The statement calls on the government to “ensure stability and continuity for agri-food and drink businesses” and asks the government to:

  • ensure a smooth and orderly Brexit by agreeing transitional arrangements that maintain frictionless trade in goods between the UK and the EU, avoiding costly and disruptive customs checks, processes and procedures
  • In the medium term, avoiding customs duties on trade by securing an ambitious bilateral free trade agreement with the EU that delivers two-way tariff-free trade
  • Establishing the UK as an independent member of WTO, providing continuity and predictability by adopting the EU’s current schedule of Most Favoured Nation bound tariff rates
  • any preferential access for UK food and drink exports, at least until government can replace them with acceptable alternative arrangements.
  • Securing the benefits for UK traders of existing EU preferential trade arrangements, including the UK’s fair share of tariff rate quotas for agricultural imports, as well as of
  • Engaging in formal trade negotiations with third countries when the terms of the UK’s future trading relations with the EU and other existing preferential trading partners are clear
  • Establishing cooperation with third countries on regulatory equivalence and ensuring that all new trade agreements take into consideration differences in regulations and standards when market access is negotiated
  • Consulting with stakeholders and undertaking detailed economic impact assessments when trade negotiations are opened and before any offers are exchanged.
  • any preferential access for UK food and drink exports, at least until government can replace them with acceptable alternative arrangements.
  • Engaging in formal trade negotiations with third countries when the terms of the UK’s future trading relations with the EU and other existing preferential trading partners are clear
  • Establishing cooperation with third countries on regulatory equivalence and ensuring that all new trade agreements take into consideration differences in regulations and standards when market access is negotiated
  • Consulting with stakeholders and undertaking detailed economic impact assessments when trade negotiations are opened and before any offers are exchanged.