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UK exports of food and drink were worth £10.2bn in the first half of 2017, up by 8.5% on the previous year and setting a new record for the sector, the country’s food industry association reported today. Food minister George Eustice welcomed the growth and said new deals agreed with China and the Philippines will see UK pork and beef exports rise further. However, the ongoing uncertainty over the Brexit process will keep celebrations muted.
The UK food industry has welcomed a newly published position paper by the UK government that proposes keeping the 310-mile border between the Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland “frictionless and seamless” when the UK leaves the Customs Union. The UK also envisages an exemption for Northern Ireland’s food producers from EU sanitary and phytosanitary checks on the borderlands to the Republic.
Brexit – the UK’s exit from the EU - could halve Danish food exports to Britain, according to analysis carried out by the University of Copenhagen on behalf of the Danish ministry of environment and food. But whilst Brexit will have major consequences for the Danish food industry's exports to the UK, it’s believed that a great deal of the loss can be made up for by gains in other markets.
Spain’s Federation of Exporters of Fruits, Vegetables, Flowers and Live Plants (FEPEX) said it is following “very closely” the negotiations between the European Commission and the United Kingdom on the terms of the UK's exit from the EU. Spanish exports of fresh fruits and vegetables to the UK were worth EUR1.76 billion euros and amounted to 1.5 million tonnes in 2016, up by 9% in value and 6% in volume from 2015.
Leading food policy specialists have warned the UK government that the country is currently unprepared to make the changes to the food system that are needed in the run up to its exit from the European Union.
Farmers’ organisation Copa and Cogeca has written to the European Commission protesting against US plans to impose anti-dumping duties on Spanish black table olive exports, saying that it amounts to protectionism.
The UK’s international trade secretary, Liam Fox, is in the US this week to talk with his American counterpart about forging a trade deal between the two countries after the UK leaves the EU. Fox wants agriculture to be included in any deal with the US, but US farmers’ demands to export chlorine-treated chicken, hormone-treated beef and GM crops to the UK as part of the deal has split opinion among Fox’s cabinet colleagues.
The EU’s dairy sector has raised concerns over the implementation of cheese tariff-rate-quotas (TRQs) under the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), with the trade deal set to provisionally enter into force on September 21.
The EU-Canada trade deal the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) that food firms both sides of the Atlantic say will benefit the sector, is to come into force from 21 September.
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