Meat industry warns against potential Brexit trade war

Meat industry warns against potential Brexit trade war

The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) has voiced its concern about the impact on the supply chain if the UK government were to suspend its Brexit agreement with the EU.

In recent weeks, Brexit minister Lord Frost announced that the choice to trigger Article 16 to suspend the Northern Ireland Protocol remained an option if “significant gaps” with the EU cannot be bridged. It has been reported that Brussels is prepared for immediate retaliatory measures against the UK if the government does suspend the Protocol.

“Uncertainty would be devastating”

BMPA said it was “increasingly worried” about the prospect of both short-term damage and much higher tariffs on exports if the trade deal is eventually scrapped.

Nick Allen, the body’s chief executive, told The Independent : “Trading on WTO terms would be horrendous for the meat industry. The idea that we’re back worrying about trading on WTO terms again is incredibly depressing.”

He continued: “We’re struggling enough with food inflation without a damaging trade war and retaliation measures. Another year of uncertainty would be devastating for our industry and the whole of the food sector – it means all the investment our economy needs could be put on hold.”

“A big worry”

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) fears the possibility of the EU insisting on more rigorous checks at Calais and other border points, causing delays for UK lorry drivers and knock-on disruption.

Rod McKenzie, RHA’s director of policy, said that “a trade war would not be pretty”. He went on to say that the possibility of trade war is “a big worry for all of us in the logistics trade.”

He added: “If Article 16 is triggered, we know the EU is going to be cross and they’re probably going to want to respond. My big worry is always supply chains. If the EU retaliates, this has the potential to cause even more disruption to very stressed supply chains that exist at the moment.”

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