Red meat sector ready for Brexit but concern remains over tariffs
Lamb and beef exporters in Wales are prepared for new paperwork and administration processes at the end of the transition period but are very concerned about the impact of tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC).
The Welsh meat body revealed that red meat exports in Wales are worth £200m a year, with over 90% of the trade being with the EU. HCC, alongside other agencies, says it has engaged consistently with processors and exporters to help them be as ready as possible for changes which will come into force at the end of the year.
Over the past month, HCC has surveyed current exporters and found that companies were aware of new regulations. However, the research also discovered that potential World Trade Organization (WTO) tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit – which on beef and lamb range from 40-80% depending on the type of meat cut – is a major headache for businesses as they plan for 2021.
HCC chief executive, Gwyn Howells, said: “We’ve worked with all our exporters in Wales to make sure we’re getting ready for changing rules on labelling, health certificates and other requirements, so we’re pleased that measures are in place to avoid any administrative delays insofar as we can.
“It’s clear, though, that the uncertainty regarding whether or not huge tariffs will be applied to Welsh exports to Europe from the 1st January 2021 is starting to cause real problems for exporters. They also have concerns over the availability of labour to ensure continued production. “As we’ve made clear from the outset, a free trading agreement with the EU would be the best outcome for the Welsh lamb and beef sectors.”