'Hard Brexit would be worse than Russian ban'

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© istock
© istock
A new report outlines how a hard Brexit would spell disaster for the European meat trade, as the UK and EU continue negotiations.

The study, Crisis – The EU meat industry in a hard Brexit scenario​, was published this week.  Meat industry body, the European Livestock and Meat Trades Union (UECBV), commissioned it.

The publication modelled the impact of a hard Brexit on trade between UK and EU for meat products. Due to increased costs imposed by tariff barriers, additional veterinary checks and higher transport costs, there would be a reduction of trade in meat from the EU to the UK by up to 84% for beef and 48% for pig meat in such a scenario.

The report also estimated the price shock would decrease the value of EU meat production by €2.4bn for beef and by €2.3bn for pig meat.

It found that a ‘no-deal’ outcome would also result in 32,000 job losses across the EU at farm level, through processing and distribution.

The authors also anticipate major disruption to supply chains and chaos for just-in-time fresh meat delivery systems.

“The magnitude of shock of a hard Brexit would be significantly greater than the industry crisis created by the Russian food import ban in 2014, and it would be much more difficult to find alternative markets for diverted products.”

Report recommendations

The UECBV wants a future trading relationship between the UK and the EU that creates minimal burden for business, especially SMEs, and maintains current trading conditions as much as possible.

It recommends that policymakers allow a timely and sufficiently long transitional period to give businesses time to adjust to new arrangements.

The trade group also wants the negotiators to ensure there is continued regulatory convergence between UK and EU and it called on policymakers to implement market support mechanisms including increased market access, internationally simplified transit systems, and vital investment in port facilities to minimize disruption and disaster for the European meat industry.

Philippe Borremans, Chairman of UECBV, said: “A hard Brexit would send shock waves through the whole European meat industry, destroying jobs, increasing consumer prices, and devastating the livelihoods of small business owners working in our sector. The scale of this crisis is simply too great to ignore.”

Related topics: Regulation

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