July 24, 2024

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EU pork exports to the UK are falling

EU pork exports to the UK are falling

EU countries exported 181,800 tonnes of pork and pork products to the UK in the first quarter of 2024. While this amount may seem significant, it is the lowest recorded in the first quarter except for 2021, when Brexit was hard. Impact on trade as reported by Agricultural Tax Board (AHDB).

Increased export costs

The situation is likely to worsen significantly throughout the year due to new border controls introduced by the United Kingdom on April 30. The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) warns that the costs of these restrictions are being underestimated. “The estimates are misleading,” said Peter Hardwick, BMPA’s trade policy adviser.

Impact on value and volume of exports

Frozen pork exports from Europe to the UK market fell by 16% year-on-year. On the other hand, pork exports increased by more than 6%, while ham, shoulder and processed cuts increased by 7.3%. However, in value terms, total pork imports to the UK increased by 4% in the first quarter compared to the previous year, totaling 683.6 million pounds due to higher prices.

New border controls

These figures were slightly affected by the new post-Brexit administrative border rules that came into effect on January 30. The situation worsened with the implementation of the Border Target Operational Model (BTOM) on 30 April. Now, trucks loaded with meat, dairy products, flowers and other goods considered high or medium risk can be stopped at British border posts for physical control.

Reported complications and additional costs

To date, these new restrictions have not caused significant delays, although some individual problems have been reported. The predicted shortage of goods also did not materialize. However, the BMPA warns that BTOM controls are more expensive than the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) estimates. “The full impact of BTOM in the UK is not trivial, and the real financial cost to importers and consumers is significantly higher,” the body said.

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Hidden fees and charges

Defra has introduced a £29 charge on all meat and other high-risk products coming into the country, a common user charge. The fee is fixed at 145 euros per truck to contain costs for importers. However, the BMPA says the actual costs are much higher. In addition, there is a hidden surcharge for trucks coming through the Port of Dover or the Eurotunnel and are sent to a control center in Chevington where the surcharge is charged.

Call for a fee review

With at least 1,000 truck loads of medium and high risk products passing through Peter Hardwick, Dover and the Eurotunnel daily, the daily cost is in excess of £240,000, resulting in an annual burden of £88 million. He stressed that these new port charges, in addition to administrative and bureaucratic costs, are poised to significantly increase consumer prices. The BMPA is calling on the Government to urgently review these duties, which will severely impact trade and food prices in the UK.