Securing the future of UK-EU trading

Brexit may no longer be at the forefront of people’s minds given the current circumstances, but the UK and European Union are expected to progress negotiations for trade since the UK’s exit from the EU on 31 January 2020.

The UK Flavour Association works very closely with the European Flavour Association (EFFA) and this strong relationship will continue as we support the industry during the transition period. As such, we have worked together on a joint position paper to outline our vision on the future EU-UK trade agreement.

As well as putting forward our hopes for a future trade deal, it also highlights some of the challenges the industry may face. Key principles laid out in the paper include:

  • A minimum of administrative burden needs to be kept and negotiators should apply the principles of free trade as much as possible. 
  • Regulatory consistency is crucial for the functioning of the EU internal market, in particular to the European flavour industry, as it is dependent on this consistency and alignment of common rules. 
  • The principle of mutual recognition should continue to be applied. 
  • Sufficient transitional periods should be foreseen to adjust to the new scenario, to avoid any disruptions throughout the supply chain.

Key arguments included in the paper, which we hope will be taken into consideration by the stakeholders involved in negotiations on both sides include:

The UK flavour sector is intertwined in the European flavour chain, not just in terms of regulations, but also in the supply of raw materials and other sourcing material. It is important that we can continue to collaborate with Europe on the EU single market and free trade principles.

A ‘no trade’ agreement would have adverse effects on the European economy, cause harm to the European flavour industry, and have serious implications for companies and consumers in the UK and countries beyond the EU27..

The bilateral trade between EU27 and the UK on flavoured products is of high importance to the functioning of the European flavour industry at large. As an important ingredient supplier to the food and drink industry, changing the tariffs for flavoured materials would have an impact on the wider food and drink sector. In addition, many flavouring ingredients cannot be sourced in the UK and therefore EU-UK trade is crucial for the flavour industry.

It is critical that regulatory consistency remains for the flavour industry between the EU-UK. Regulatory divergence means extra complexity and extra costs; meanwhile our sector relies on arrangements that facilitate movement for highly skilled talent, including scientists and researchers.

For the Association and EFFA, the ideal outcome from trade negotiations is to achieve an agreement that stays as close as possible the current scenario in order to minimise trade disruptions for consumers across the UK and Europe. 

Together with EFFA, we look forward to engaging with all stakeholders involved both in the UK and the EU, and we hope that our input will be taken into consideration during the EU-UK trade negotiations.

You can view the full paper on EFFA’s website.