In its new study called the Brexit Report, the BMPA highlights systemic weaknesses in the new export regime involving ‘mountains of red tape’.
The trade body said it is no longer credible to dismiss the problems as short-term teething problems, and the result could be ‘a potential permanent loss of trade between 20% and 50%’.
The BPMA report estimates that Brexit has resulted in additional annual costs of between £90m and £120m for the UK meat industry to trade with the EU. The study also states that exports were running at 50% of pre-transitional period volumes during the first six weeks of 2021.
BPMA members have reported EU customers cancelling orders because of longer delays and higher costs in importing from the UK, according to the report.
Nick Allen, CEO of the BMPA, has called on the UK Government to address the ‘serious impediments to trade’ with the help of the meat industry.
“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 Government to build a new system that is fit for purpose,” said Allen.
The BMPA report sets out recommendations for dealing with the export problems, focusing on three key areas that would ‘drastically improve our ability to hold on to our trade with EU customers’ if addressed. These are:
• Inspection and certification – learning from other more efficient and cost-effective systems;
• Electronic documentation – moving from a paper-based system to an integrated digital system;
• Common Veterinary Area – negotiating a more robust agreement with the EU to follow parallel rules which would ease problems sending food to both the EU and to Northern Ireland.
“The export hurdles we face are now in plain sight and are not going away,” Allen added. “We need Government to urgently re-engage with both the industry and the EU to work out detailed and lasting solutions.
“The BMPA and its members stand ready to consult with Government and map out those solutions.”