British Meat Processors Association
British Meat Processors Association

Import checks delayed again, but a bigger problem still remains

We’ve been expecting a delay in the implementation of the Border Target Operating Model, but simply shifting the deadline to January doesn’t address the more serious, underlying issue, which is that when we left the EU we were promised frictionless trade with Europe, but the current reality falls far short of that.

When the Target Operating Model is eventually implemented, it will add another level of complication, delay and extra cost to our trade with our nearest and biggest trading partner, who we rely on for a large proportion of our food supply. Yes, it will level the playing field as the same barriers to trade are finally applied to imports as well as exports, but it will make the food that we need to import more expensive. It will also discourage some EU exporters from supplying into the UK market, preferring instead to sell to markets with fewer trade barriers.

In order to provide enough meat to British customers, our meat producers rely on the ability to export parts of the animal for which there is no market here in the UK. We also need to import products that we don’t produce enough of here. We need our nearest, most lucrative export market to make the meat supply chain work properly.

What’s the solution?

As we’ve consistently maintained, there is a simple, pragmatic solution that would restore our two-way trade in food to the efficient, cost-effective system it was before, but without the need to re-join the EU. That solution is a Common Veterinary Agreement, which would simply formalise the UK’s adherence to the food standards that it already follows to trade with the EU.

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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