British meat producers feeling the heat on Brexit uncertainty

British meat producers have raised concerns across the water as Brexit departure day of March 29 approaches, with lobbyists urging the UK government to ease the uncertainty surrounding the matter.

According to the representative group the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), the “axe has already fallen for some British meat exporters”.

Companies are reporting that overseas customers are now cancelling orders and buying their product from other countries due to the lack of clarity around Brexit, according to the representative organisation – facing similar worries to its Irish counterparts.

The group has said that this is set to cause major disruptions to the supply chain and have severe financial consequences for British meat companies who may struggle to win back lost business.

Nick Allen, chief executive of the BMPA, said: ”Last week we were inundated with inquiries from members wanting information on what exactly is going to happen.

“Despite numerous crisis meetings with government officials, we are still no closer to getting definitive guidance on tariffs, certification and health marks that our members desperately need.

“Unfortunately, the disruption has already started and damage is already being done.

The lack of clarity around Brexit is now causing orders to be cancelled and effectively closing-off once lucrative export markets to British firms.

The problem is threefold and affects the whole food supply chain, according to the organisation.

Delays in announcing what tariff rates will apply in the event of a no-deal Brexit mean that shipments to overseas markets that set off tariff-free will arrive at their destination after March 29 and be subject to an, as yet, undetermined tariff.

Those overseas customers have no way of knowing how much extra they will be required to pay, the BMPA says.

The insurers that cover these consignments and facilitate the movement of goods between countries are refusing to indemnify against losses related to a no-deal Brexit.

The group also raised concerns around what health mark should be used, with the issue of no formal acceptance of change of status also a worry.

“During March meat processors will be faced with the conundrum that they will be buying animals to process without any understanding of what the market may look like post March 29.

And, it won’t be a simple matter of selling more product into the UK market because most of the £1 billion worth of meat exported is made up of cuts that are popular overseas but not here in Britain.

“The red flag has been raised and we are calling on government to support the British meat industry with clear information and guidance and to step up efforts to agree trading terms with our most valuable overseas trading partners,” the BMPA statement concluded.

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