Fifth round of delays to the implementation of controls poses food safety risk, undercuts
domestic production, and amplifies the food inflation challenge
In contrast to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s commitment that farmers and food producers will “have
what they need” to fulfil their role in society, delays to controls will undercut domestic production
with cheap imports, posing a food safety and biosecurity risk and pushing up British food prices, the British Poultry Council (BPC) has said.
BPC Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths, said the move “defers rather than confronts the
consequences of the commercial realities of Brexit.”
He said the government’s reasoning “side-steps round the fact that a large portion of cost of production pressures stem from the lack of clarity surrounding unreciprocated controls and regulatory timelines. This fifth round of delays only continues to hinder investment and inhibit growth for domestic poultry producers, adding to the cost of production and amplifying pressure on the food inflation challenge.”
British poultry meat exporters had just seven days to prepare for the conditions of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement signed 24 December 2020, conditions importers and other industries are yet to feel the full weight of.
EU exporters, on the other hand, continue to enjoy frictionless trade; as a result, the value of British poultry meat exports dropped nearly 50% between 2020-2022, Griffiths added.
“Concerns that importers and other businesses have expressed are what BPC members have endured since 1 January 2021. Additional administration, like OV-signed export health certificates, have cost industry £55 million a year since leaving the single market. EU exporters, on the other hand, have paid £0 in certification costs. Delaying the implementation of food import controls for the fifth time in two years means the EU continue to enjoy a competitive advantage.
“By no means do we ‘want’ checks, per se. What we ‘want’ is to fix the problems putting pressure on our supply chains. That starts by equalising trade between importers and exporters.”
The cost of not having reciprocal checks is greater than the burdens that come with them. To preserve the viability of British poultry meat businesses, we must make relations with our largest and most important trading partner as efficient as possible by establishing fair and reciprocated checks to equalise trade between importers and exporters – particularly in the absence of an SPS Agreement, in which these burdens could be addressed, and checks simplified, Griffiths added. “The current system, where one side of the Channel can trade freely and the other is penalised for trying to, is simply not sustainable.”