May 30, 2020

Food and drink supply chain outlines recommendations for Government’s future UK trade policy

Organisations from across the UK food and drink supply chain have today (27th January) launched a new policy paper outlining common themes the Government should use to develop future trade policy, as negotiations between the UK and other nations begin.

The paper has been developed by the cross-sectoral Food and Drink Industry Brexit Roundtable, convened by FDF, and the separate Arable and Livestock stakeholder groups advising Defra. Their views focus on how the agri-food industry can take advantage of the opportunities created by leaving the EU.

Their ambition is for a future UK trade policy which will drive growth, promote efficient and sustainable food production and stimulate innovation, while providing consumers and shoppers with even greater choice and better value.

The key recommendations outlined within the paper focus on trade policy priorities, principles, and the process of trade policy development. The recommendations include:

  • Accommodating Rules of Origin and ensuring they are tailored to meet the needs of the industry;
  • Giving business time to adapt to changes in competitive positioning arising from the creation of new trade agreements;
  • Thought being given to the benefits and costs of choosing to move away from existing regulatory technical standards;
  • Encouraging job creation and value addition in every region of the UK by prioritising agri-food;
  • Retaining the UK’s ability to deliver high standards at competitive consumer prices; and
  • Encouraging sustainable food production, while diminishing environmental impacts.

Alex Waugh, Chair, Brexit Arable Group, and Director General, Nabim, said: “Food and drink businesses operate throughout the UK, creating jobs and income for people in every constituency. That is why we want to work with Government to ensure that we have the right policies to make a success of the UK’s independent status, maintain our high food standards, improve our ability to deliver sustainably produced food at competitive prices and ensure these benefits are felt throughout the country.”

Andrew Kuyk CBE, Director General, Provision Trade Federation, said: “Trade has always been fundamental to the success of our industry. We need to build on our strong relationships with existing partners, while developing new and closer links with others. We look forward to working with Government to make the most of these opportunities.”

Ian Wright CBE, Chair, Food and Drink Roundtable, and Chief Executive, FDF said: “The food and drink industry is absolutely committed to working with Government and the devolved administrations on the development of more detailed plans and practical solutions for our vital industry as we leave the EU.

“No industry is more uniquely placed to deliver the benefits of trade to every UK community. Together our supply chain produces, packages, distributes and sells a wide range of food and drink at every price point, more than ever before, in every corner of the UK.”