The UK Flavour Association has encouraged its members to lobby MPs to accept the Government’s EU Withdrawal Act in the best interests of business and the industry.
While every line item of the agreement might not be perfect or exactly what everyone hoped for, we feel it is, on the whole, acceptable and that having an acceptable agreement in place will provide more clarity and security to UK businesses than any available alternative option, particularly the prospect of ‘no-deal’.
More than 70% of UK exports of food and non-alcoholic drink are to the EU. We must see a new UK-EU trading relationship secured from the day the UK leaves the EU. Without this, the ability of our members to trade effectively could be significantly compromised and the disruption could cause lasting damage.
Over 80% of the raw materials used by the UK flavour industry currently come from or through the EU. As there are often geographical/climatic restrictions on where they can be grown, we can’t simply go elsewhere. If we had to resort to WTO rules, the increase in import and export costs could erode the competitiveness of our members.
When it comes to customs, the cost and complexity that would be added to the supply chain in a no-deal scenario would be a major challenge.
Our industry relies on EU migrant workers, many of whom are highly skilled and in hard to fill roles. They would be difficult to replace with UK workers given a lack of specialist training and development here which is needed over the long-term.
We are already losing some of our valued employees who are returning to their home countries due to the uncertainty they face. We therefore urge MPs to accept the Withdrawal Act so that we can work together as a country to ensure a smooth transition which is essential if we are to make Brexit a success.