March 26, 2021


UK Defra: British meat and seafood exports to the European Union recovered in February


An official from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said Britain's meat and seafood exports to the European Union recovered in February after a January slump following Britain's departure from the EU single market and customs union, Reuters reported.


David Kennedy, Defra director-general for farming and biosecurity, said there are indications that exports have recovered in February, citing data on export health certificates (EHCs). The number of EHCs, required for all animal product exports to the EU, doubled in February compared to January numbers.


Kennedy said this at a parliament select committee enquiry into UK meat and seafood exports to the EU.


Following the Brexit transition, British exports were affected by additional checks and paperwork. This resulted in delays and increased costs for many UK businesses.


According to the Office for National Statistics, good exports from the UK to the EU in January was 40.7% down from December, with 64% lower food and live animal exports.


The British meat industry said there is a possibility of between 20% to 50% of export trade with the EU permanently loss even after post-Brexit issues have been sorted. Groupage trade, which involved trucks shipping mixed goods, have been stopped.


George Eustice, the Farming and Environment Minister, said higher costs of shipping to the EU means groupage trade may no longer be viable for small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).


He said SMEs may have to consolidate around an export agent and larger consignments to make exports worthwhile.


- Reuters