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Prices of fruit and veg could increase by 4% in the event of ‘No Deal Brexit’

UK is highly reliant on fruit and vegetable imports, currently importing 65% of total supply



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3 December 2020

A new briefing paper shows that new trade tariffs that will apply as a result of a ‘No Deal Brexit’ could substantially increase the price of fruit and veg in the UK.

Preliminary analysis from The Food Foundation and SHEFS finds that prices of fruit and veg would increase by an average of 4% on 1 January 2021 as a result of a No Deal scenario, which would mean imports from the EU would be automatically subject to the new higher UK general tariffs. Prices for some products could rise by even more: for example, tomatoes would become 9% more expensive.

The UK is highly reliant on fruit and vegetable imports, currently importing 65% of total UK supply. In the event of a No Deal Brexit, imports from the EU would automatically be subject to new UK ‘Most-favoured Nation’ tariffs. In addition, imports from non-EU countries may also be subject to increased tariffs. As a member of the EU, the UK benefitted from around 40 free trade agreements signed by the EU. The UK has so far signed bilateral deals replicating just 22 of these agreements.

The food industry has been warning of the potential for additional costs and significant delays at UK borders e.g. for customs and plant health checks, and a lack of cold storage capacity in the UK, and the potential for shortages and concomitant food prices rises. These issues will particularly have an effect on perishable food products, including fruit and vegetables.

Preparing for Brexit

For growers in Ireland, there is still time to prepare for Brexit. Teagasc recently outlined four actions that growers need to take to prepare for Brexit. These include:

  • Registration – At a minimum growers will need to be registered with DAFM as a professional operator, and will need an EROI number
  • UK suppliers registration – They need to be registered for EROI and with UK plant health portals. Contact your suppliers to get their details ASAP
  • Phytosanitarty requirements – EU Plant passport or International Phytocert, growers must investigate what will be needed for export/import, set up as TRACES NT user
  • Transport and duty – Identify a customs agent, become trained as an agent, or identify a company that will act on your behalf

To read the full analysis, visit:

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