International Meat Trade Association welcomes Draft Brexit Agreement

International Meat Trade Association welcomes Draft Brexit Agreement

The International Meat Trade Association (IMTA) has welcomed the Draft Brexit Agreement reached by UK and EU negotiators but says that much uncertainty remains.

IMTA’s policy director, Katie Doherty has responded to the draft Brexit Agreement.

The organisation has released the following statement: “IMTA welcomes the news that the UK and EU negotiators have reached a technical agreement on the Draft Withdrawal Agreement and that the UK Cabinet has endorsed the plan.

“However, until the agreement has gone through the legislative stages in both the UK and the EU, uncertainty still remains for our members making it difficult to plan and agree contracts.

“The agreement provides for a transition period up to at least 31st December 2020 during which the UK would continue to participate in the EU Customs Union and the Single Market (with all four freedoms) and all Union policies.

“This will avoid the need for any new checks between the UK and EU, or the introduction of tariffs on trade between the EU and UK. If the deal goes through this will provide some much needed certainty for our members at least until the end of the transition period.”

IMTA notes that the draft agreement also means that the UK would be bound by existing regulations. It explains this will provide assurance to export markets around the world.

“During the transition period, third countries will have access to the UK market under the conditions set out in the EU’s trade agreements, this will provide certainty to our importing members that they will still be able to access a range of product, providing choice to the UK consumer,” the association continued.

“Until this agreement is secured at a political and legislative level our members still face uncertainty about what happens from March 29th 2019 at 11pm. Though we recognise that the UK Government could take unilateral steps on tariff policy to avoid them, if no action is taken there is the risk that the UK defaults to WTO tariffs on imports which are as high as 60% in the case of beef imports.”

IMTA also asserts that there is great uncertainty about UK meat export approval to the EU in this scenario, stating: “We note that although the EU will treat the UK as if it were a Member State, there is an exception regarding the UK’s participation in the EU institutions and governance structures. We believe this will be a loss as the UK has traditionally been an active and engaged member state in contributing to EU policy.

“We hope the UK and UK based businesses and associations will continue to be able to be engaged in the EU legislative process throughout the transition period.”

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