Urgent calls for new veterinary agreement as UK exports to EU drop


THERE has been an urgent call for a new veterinary agreement as restrictions have cause a sharp drop in British exports to the EU and threatens the viability of UK business.

Food and feed trade associations, hauliers, farmers, and veterinary and environmental health professional organisations have joined together to propose in a new report an urgent new veterinary agreement.

They have streamlined processes to resolve “crippling restrictions” to exports to the EU, Britain’s largest trading partner.

Photo by Kyle Ryan on Unsplash. Businesses are working incredibly hard to navigate these new barriers but Government help is needed.

Roger Gale MP, who sits on the cross-party UK Trade and Business Commission, said: “This important report highlights the systemic challenges facing food exporters and the need for urgent solutions.

“This will all help inform the cross-party recommendations we are developing on how current barriers to trade with the EU can be addressed.”

The cross-party UK Trade and Business Commission will be examining this issue in detail at its evidence session today on a potential EU-UK veterinary agreement, which will hear from leading industry representatives including the British Veterinary Association, British Poultry Council, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, and the National Farmers Union.

For the last five months British exporters have faced often insurmountable difficulties with post-Brexit red tape and disruption at the UK-EU border.

boat - Business News Scotland
Photo by Ian Taylor on Unsplash. The new relationship between Great Britain and the EU has meant that British businesses now face new requirements imposed on exports to the EU.

These include international sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) controls which significantly add to bureaucracy, cost, and time.

The SPS Certification Working Group, a cross-industry, veterinary, and environmental health group, in its new report Minimising SPS Friction in EU Trade calls on the Government to help resolve the severe impact on trade through a new approach.

They plan on improving current systems to remove archaic bureaucracy, reducing time, error, and costs, and reviewing requirements for inspection and certification.

As Nick Allen of the British Meat Processors Association explains: “The rigid but inconsistent enforcement of ‘third country’ trading rules is eroding the profitability and potential viability of exporting products of animal origin to the EU and NI – even though the differences between the food standards are virtually non-existent.”

containers - Business News Scotland
Photo by Paul Teysen on Unsplash. The new controls are having a profound negative impact on the amount of food exported to the EU.

If traders are to survive and thrive under the UK’s established Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) with the EU, new ways of managing the system must be developed to secure the sustainability of businesses going forward.

Especially since the situation is likely to get much worse next year when full import controls take effect.

The report, Minimising SPS Friction in EU Trade, calls on the Government to engage with the EU to build a system that works for exporters rather than against them.

Without Government support in investing in sufficient resources and systems, a detrimental effect on the sustainability of British businesses can be expected.