NPA calls for urgency from Government to address EU exit concerns
The National Pig Association (NPA) is calling for a more proactive and decisive approach from Government to address a number of outstanding concerns surrounding Brexit.
With the end of the Transition Period now less than two months away, the NPA says it is still seeking answers on a long list of critical questions relating to the industry’s ability to trade breeding pigs and pork products post-EU exit.
NPA chief executive, Zoe Davies, says there is still a lack of understanding within Defra and across Government about the severity of the situation. She said: “While we are making progress in some areas, time is now running short and we need more urgency and engagement from across Government before it is simply too late.
“As things stand, on top of the growing disruption caused by Covid-19, the UK pig sector faces the very real prospects of being unable to continue the vitally important trade in breeding stock to the EU and of severe delays, added costs and reduced market access for our pork exports. The impact could be devastating.”
Davies pointed out that in many cases, the issues will affect the industry whether or not we have a deal in place with the EU on January 1, 2021. The main areas of concern include:
- The inability to export any breeding stock due to a lack of necessary Border Control Posts (BCPs) at key EU seaports. Imports could also be affected from July.
- Delays at ports after January and lack of prioritisation for fresh food, jeopardising short shelf life product exports.
- A lack of veterinary resources to carry out all the additional checks required on animal and meat exports.
- A lack of clarity about new requirements and authorisations needed for hauliers transporting breeding pigs.
- A lack of clarity on the requirements for movements of product and live pigs between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Davies added: “It is extremely frustrating. As an association and as an industry, we always try to be prepared and remain optimistic, and still believe there is time to resolve at least some of these issues and minimise the negative impacts the new trading arrangements will create.
“We will continue to strive to get solutions, but we need better engagement and answers from across Government and fast. Our message is that we are facing a very real threat to the viability of the UK pig sector and we must do all we can, collectively, to avoid serious disruption.”