British Poultry Council Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths, was invited to submit oral evidence in the International Trade Select Committee’s inquiry into the UK-EU trading relationship.
BPC Chief Executive was joined by Ian Wright from the Food and Drink Federation, William Bain from the British Retail Consortium and Terri Portmann, an Independent Fisheries Consultant, to offer insight into the trade barriers faced by the food industry since Britain’s departure from the EU single market and customs union, and ways in which Government can support food producers to minimise impact on the supply chain and to ensure businesses remain viable.
Richard Griffiths said: “The purpose of British food production is to feed people. British food production and food security needs healthy trade…This is not about protectionism; it is about a trade policy that promotes fair competition across a broad range, and one that supports our domestic production.”
Below you can find a quick snapshot of the International Trade Select Committee proceeding, featuring a selection of responses from the British Poultry Council.
Richard – “We have found a trading system that works for trade with the other side of the world is not designed for a just-in-time, perishable system. We have had four impacts, and all of which amount to costs to the system.”
Richard – “One of our big concerns is that there are not enough Government resources in the system to cope with the future needs of this ‘new normal’ and this new system.”
Richard – “We have serious doubts that the ‘back office’ will be able to cope with the processing of sufficient export health certificates. The things our members can control, our members will try and control. It’s the required Government input that we’re extremely concerned over.”
Richard – “It is important to recognise that the UK food sector is not one homogenous hole. Different sectors have different needs, with different targets for exports. The system cannot be a one size fits all. It has to be very targeted and very specific. For the poultry meat sector, the EU has always been and will continue to be our prime trading partner. I don’t think that there is anything that can change that in a reasonable time scale.”
Richard – “There is no easy answer but I think there are things – in order of time – that Government can do, including ensuring the common interpretation of the rules as soon as possible and incorporating a fully digitalised system.”
Richard – “The EU is a major trading partner for the poultry meat industry so regulatory alignment is a positive thing. It reflects our own standards. In that, there is a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is how we continue to improve our regulations and standards without compromising that trading relationship. The opportunity is that we can work on being more outcome-based than process-driven, looking at whether we achieve the same outcome in a different way.”
Richard – “I think trade policy has to support domestic food production. If we can leverage where we are now into a roadmap for feeding everyone – and feeding everyone well – in the UK, then that is a road we should try to explore. We aren’t going to change where we are, but if we can try and use it to some advantage for UK food production, and the result of that, which is feeding the UK.”
This comes just days after the British Poultry Council’s online event, hosted in collaboration with leading think tank Respublica, to discuss the new trade deal with Europe and what this really means for food producers and consumers in the UK. The full recording of the event is available to watch here.
Please find our latest trade briefing available to read below: