Food & beverage exports from the United Kingdom to Europe have plunged in the wake of Brexit, and the country’s leading food industry trade association is urging the government to do something about it.
Overall food & beverage exports from the UK were down by 16%, a drop of 2.7 billion pounds ($3.6 billion), in the first nine months of this year, according to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). Most of that was attributable to a 24% decline in exports to the nations of the European Union in the first full year of Brexit, the UK’s departure from the EU.
Exports to some individual EU nations fell even more than the 24% figure, according to the FDF. Exports to Italy dropped 43.3%; to Germany, 44.5%; to Spain, 50.6%. Exports to other nations and regions, like Asia, picked up, although not enough to change the overall picture.
“It is extremely disappointing to see how badly our trade with the EU has been affected, with our smallest exporters hardest hit,” the FDF’s head of international trade told the Guardian. The FDF has called for measures including aggressive recruitment, possibly with relaxed visa rules, for long-haul truck drivers, and help with navigating customs barriers between the UK and EU.