The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) has issued a plea to Government to address key Brexit issues which could see £1.2 billion of annual meat exports at risk along with thousands of jobs.
The group warned EU exit contingency plans were proceeding at a ‘snail’s pace’, and the UK Government needed to fix a number of outstanding problems.
Chief executive of the BMPA, Nick Allen, claimed months of talks with Ministers had yielded little progress, and patience has worn thin for the British meat industry and other sectors relying on overseas trade.
Mr Allen said: “With less than four months to go, Britain has a woeful lack of infrastructure and people to operate the new export system, which if not addressed, will result in massive delays, extra cost and lost orders.”
Back in June, Mr Allen highlighted difficulties with the new set of EHCs and health ID marks needed to trade with Europe, but those issues remain unresolved.
BMPA has called for firm assurances from Ministers that the new system promised for EHCs will be up and running at full capacity by the end of the year, as well as confirmation the new Government health marks, used to certify export standard, are agreed with all trading partners to ensure meat continues to be exported after December 31.
It has also warned there will not be enough official veterinarians to inspect every overseas consignment from every meat plant in the UK prior to dispatch, and voiced fears UK companies will be competitively disadvantaged due to Government guidelines on groupage, which do not allow fresh and frozen meat to be sent together to third countries, including the EU, after December 31.