International Trade Committee to examine impact of COVID-19 on UK food supplies

The International Trade Committee will continue its inquiry examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday 30 April, with a session looking at the global trade in agri-food, and the impact of the pandemic on UK food supplies.   

According to data from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 53% of food consumed in the UK in 2018 was produced domestically, with the rest coming from overseas. Supply chains are often highly complex and operate on a ‘just in time’ basis.

In this session, the Committee will first consider how the agri-food system has responded to COVID-19 with two academic experts. Questions are expected to focus on the degree of reliance in the UK on food imports, the stability of supply chains and the impact of export restrictions imposed on food products by some countries. 

The Committee will then hear from industry, taking evidence from representatives from the British Retail Consortium, whose members include some of the UK’s biggest supermarkets, and the Food and Drink Federation, who represent food manufacturers. Questions are expected to focus on how supply chains have responded, and what has been done so far by the Government and industry to mitigate disruption.

The Committee is also expected to consider the impact of worker shortages, border closures, and disruption to transport routes used by the industry.

The evidence session will begin at 14.30 on Thursday 30 April and be available to view via Parliament TV. Witnesses and Committee members will participate remotely. The Committee will take evidence from: 

Panel 1

  • Professor Bob Doherty, Professor of Marketing and Chair in Agri-Food, University of York
  • Professor Fiona Smith, Professor of International Economic Law and N8 Chair in Agri-Food, University of Leeds

Panel 2

  • Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability, British Retail Consortium
  • Ian Wright CBE, Chief Executive, Food and Drink Federation


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