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Brexit: ingredients rules could hamper exports

This establishes the country of origin of imported and exported goods and identifies those which qualify for lower or nil customs duty.

The report ‘Rules of origin in an EU-UK FTA: A ‘hidden hard Brexit’ for food and drink exporters?​’ commissioned by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and the National Association of British and Irish Flour Millers (NABIM), has warned about the impact of goods that are made with both UK and international ingredients.

The issue is important because many of the ingredients are not produced in the UK or not in sufficient quantity throughout the year to meet consumer demand.

Significant risk

The report acknowledged that the UK Government aimed to negotiate a free-trade agreement with exporters, but they would still need to comply with complex origin requirements posing “significant risk” ​for UK firms exporting to the EU.

It claimed manufacturers could face costly restructuring of their supply chains or barring from future EU-UK trade as a result of prohibitively high tariffs for food and drink.

“Rules of origin are a big piece of the Brexit puzzle for the food and drink industry,” ​said Ian Wright, director general of the FDF.

“If we fail to secure sufficiently generous rules as part of a preferential trade agreement with the EU, food and drink manufacturers will be the ones who suffer this hidden hard Brexit.”

Export costs

“They could be facing an increase in exporting costs, or a complete ban of entry to the market.”

NABIM director general Alex Waugh warned that flour millers in the UK source 80% of wheat from the UK, but also used grain from Canada, the US and other European countries.

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