Brexit might still be weeks away, but some British meat exporters are already feeling its repercussions. According to the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), select companies are reporting that their overseas customers are canceling orders and buying their products from other countries due to the confusion surrounding Brexit.
Since there have been delays in announcing what tariff rates will apply in the event of a no-deal Brexit, shipments to overseas markets that set off tariff-free and are expected to arrive at destination after March 29 will be subjected to an undetermined tariff. So overseas customers can’t know how much extra they will have to pay.
“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 canceled and effectively closed-off once lucrative export markets to British firms,” said Nick Allen, chief executive of the BMPA.
There is also confusion about which health mark should be used. Health marks are stamps that identify which plant has processed the meat and represent a key factor in ensuring traceability. The Government is yet to decide what these marks should be.
Given the current circumstances, UK meat processors will be faced with the uncertainty of buying animals to process without having an understanding of what the market looks like post-March 29. The report urges the Government to support the British meat industry with clear information and guidance.