(1st December 2017) In view of the meeting between President Juncker and Prime Minister May, to be held on 4 December, FoodDrinkEurope and the UK Food and Drink Federation wish to reiterate the deep concern of food and drink firms across Europe in relation to the lack of certainty in the Brexit negotiations.
We remain particularly concerned by the outstanding issues surrounding the Irish border, where more than half of all movements of goods are in food and drink. Practical and creative solutions will be required from all sides to maintain as frictionless trade as possible and to avoid unwanted disruption in trade.
We are convinced that neither the UK, nor the EU27, can afford a ‘cliff edge’ scenario and time is running out to provide business with the assurances they need. A failure to make substantive progress soon will force firms to set into motion contingency plans, based on a worst case, no-deal scenario. This will have important consequences for our businesses and their employees.
We urge negotiators to agree on transitional arrangements that will apply until an EU-UK trade agreement is in place, to protect the sector’s successes and long-term investment and the jobs that we support. We both strongly support a ‘status quo’ transition period which allows existing trade and customs arrangements to continue largely unchanged, until a new trade agreement enters into force. This will help minimise the uncertainty and cost for business and our consumers.