British importers and exporters of food products including seafood and fresh produce are feeling more and more effects from Brexit according to reports, with European hauliers said to be refusing European loads destined for the UK.
In recent days social media and several newspapers have carried pictures of empty shelves in supermarkets, although in the case of fresh produce imports from Europe, it is unclear how much of the disruption is due to Brexit and how much due to the recent bad weather in Spain.
New data from the London School of Economics (LSE) claim that UK trade will decrease as a result of 13 per cent due to Brexit, even with the current trade deal, while issues around Northern Ireland continue to concern suppliers. Thomas Sampson, associate professor of economics at LSE, said, “Goods trade costs will increase due to customs red tape, border delays, rules of origin requirements and the need for products to satisfy different regulations and standards in the UK than the EU.”
In an interview with BBC Radio Ulster, Northern Ireland agriculture minister Edwin Poots warned the province was facing a “major crisis” in its food supply. “It was made very clear to us by the suppliers both to hospitals and schools that if the current arrangement for supermarkets isn’t extended in a few months’ time, they will not be able to supply our hospitals and schools with food,” he said.
Food and Drink Federation chief executive Ian Wright told MPs that there will be short and long-term costs to “re-engineering,” supply chains, telling MPs: “Unless the deal changes in some material way, we’re going to see the re-engineering of almost all the EU-UK and GB-NI supply chains over the next six to nine months. In the short term there will be costs and time wasted for supply to reach the shelves, and in the long term will be costs and changes, and fairly significant changes, to the way in which manufacturers in the UK and in the EU interact when they are producing product.”
In another article, EU Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier warned, “This agreement will not be renegotiated; it now needs to be implemented.”
Photo Caption: A number of UK newspapers have carried pictures of empty supermarket shelves