Relations with our largest and closest trading partner must be as efficient and as fair as possible to enhance British trade in this next phase of a functioning Brexit.

Rules on moving poultry between the UK, EU and NI are unbalanced and will continue to plague British food producers in their efforts to keep food moving until a mutually beneficial SPS Agreement is secured.

With Britain being deemed a ‘third country’ on 1st January 2021, British businesses have been subjected to a number of unreciprocated requirements, including international sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) controls.

British poultry meat – unchanged in standards or regulation – has been hit by superfluous new administration that cost an additional £60 million in 2021, including inspections at border control posts and burdensome customs procedures. Despite Britain’s food producers continuing to try to mitigate barriers and minimise extra cost, systemic challenges are not getting any easier and are not suitable for the just-in-time nature of our supply chains.

BPC Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths, said: “Government have continually expressed that the Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) allows British businesses to ‘trade freely’ with the EU, but this is not reflective in the real-world impact of third country trading. From vet shortages, to mile-long-queues to Dover to trading under bird flu, it is clear the current system is not designed for third countries to ‘trade freely’ with the EU.

Businesses have tried to face into these burdens but trade with the EU is imbalanced. To thrive, not just survive, recognition of mutually beneficial standards and practices with our most vital trading partner must be agreed upon to ensure fair and competitive trade and to correct the problems our member businesses are encountering on a daily basis.”

Two years of adjusting to the conditions of third country trading has taught us which parts of the system must evolve to keep food moving with our most vital trading partner. Britain’s poultry meat producers require a working SPS Agreement that takes ownership of British standards and finds solutions to current burdens preventing fair and competitive trade with the EU.

The British Poultry Council asks that an SPS Agreement urgently addresses the following to level the playing field to ensure British poultry producers can ‘trade freely’ with the EU under Brexit:

  1. A consistent, mutual approach to certification checks (reduction or elimination) to maintain fair and competitive trade.
  2. Secure flexible border arrangements in light of a shortage of Official Veterinarians (OVs) to ensure minimal disruption to just-in-time supply chains.
  3. Securing rules and correcting terminology for trading with the EU under bird flu.


Mr Griffiths added: “We have an opportunity to do what is best for our trade systems, yet our Government is continually putting barriers in our way. The first part of the solution to these structural issues, and the next phase of functional trade with the EU, is a mutually beneficial SPS Agreement that makes trade under Brexit work for Britain’s food producers. We need to invest in solutions now to avoid further jeopardy to British businesses come July.”

Read our latest briefing note below