British Meat Processors Association
British Meat Processors Association
triangular trade

End of the road for ‘triangular trade’ of meat into Northern Ireland

Monday 15 January 2024 will mark another erosion of the ability of UK meat businesses to operate and trade flexibly and cost-effectively within our own borders. 

It will no longer be possible to bring in bulk shipments of meat from overseas to a central hub in mainland Great Britain, then send it onwards in smaller consignments for further processing to Northern Ireland. This is because, under EU rules, which will now be fully imposed, it will be considered ‘triangular trade’ whereby a vet from one country (UK) cannot re-certify material from another country (e.g. New Zealand) for onward movement to Northern Ireland. Any hopes for this type of trade to continue were quashed when UK government was unable to secure the easements required for it to do so within the Windsor Framework.

But this obscure trade rule (described in this APHA briefing note) has real-world ramifications for UK companies. Losing the flexibility to move product between processing plants forces them to have to re-jig their staffing and plant capacity. It will likely rob jobs and production from Northern Ireland and require expansion somewhere on the mainland, all of which costs money, and adds to food price inflation.

These extra layers of rules and bureaucracy only serve to add cost to businesses that already run on wafer-thin margins. It prevents them from operating in the most commercially efficient and productive way.

As we’ve consistently advocated, the best way to fix this forced inefficiency is to reach an alignment agreement with the EU. This would instantly remove all the new trade barriers that have been erected since Brexit and restore competitiveness to a key British industry.

About BMPA

The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) is the leading trade association for the meat and meat products industry in the UK.

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