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Beef farmers say hard Brexit would be 'catastrophic'

The report says trade would collapse.

US-CHINA-TRADE-BEEF Source: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

BEEF FARMERS ARE warning that a hard Brexit would be “catastrophic” for them.

A new report entitled Crisis – The EU Meat Industry in a Hard Brexit Scenario this week found that trade would “collapse” in the event of a hard Brexit.

The report, commissioned by Europe’s meat Industry body, UECBV found that a hard Brexit would lead to:

  • Trade collapsing – an 84% drop in beef exports from the EU27 to the UK
  • Market price shock – The value of EU pigmeat production would drop by €2.3 Billion, and beef by €2.4 billion annually
  • Job losses – at least 32,000 job losses across the EU at farm level, through processing and distribution

The report adds that the scenario would lead to additional veterinary checks and increased transport costs lead to a reduction of trade in meat from EU to UK by up to 84% for beef, 76% for sheepmeat and 48% for pigmeat. The effect of this excess meat on the EU market would decrease beef price by 8.8% and pigmeat price by 7.3% in the short term.

Commenting on the report’s launch, Cormac Healy, Director of Meat Industry Ireland said:

“A hard Brexit represents the greatest threat to European producers, consumers and processors of meat, with a potential impact much greater than the Russian import ban.

“By potentially cutting off one of the largest and highest value meat markets in Europe, Brexit threatens to be catastrophic for the meat sector across Europe and UK.

In this worst case scenario, in which no deal between EU and UK is agreed, the impact to the meat sector will be devastating, due to the particular exposure of this sector to tariff burden, additional veterinary costs and increased customs and transport checks and associated logistics disruption.

“The findings contained in this Report confirm our worst fears: A Hard Brexit would send shock waves through the whole European meat industry, destroying jobs, crippling trade and devaluing meat output across the EU. The scale of this crisis is simply too great to ignore, and we implore policymakers to follow through on recommendations put forward in this Report and to protect this vital European food sector” he added.

The report says that there will be major disruption to modern fresh meat and just-in-time trade flows which are underpinned by sophisticated logistics systems, creating further losses for the meat sector, and depriving consumers in the UK of fresh meat supply.

Read: ‘If UK Brexit offer is unacceptable to Ireland it will be unacceptable to Europe’ – Donald Tusk

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