Both the EU and the UK are eager to achieve a Brexit deal. However, with time running short and red lines continuing to be drawn on both sides, a no-deal Brexit scenario remains a possibility. For this reason, both the EU27 and the UK are expediting preparations for a hard Brexit. Absent any temporary arrangements, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 29 March 2018, it will become a “third country” EU trading partner overnight. Trade in agri-food between EU-UK would then be governed by World Trade Organization (WTO), EU and UK rules, and food products would no longer move freely throughout the EU.
Agri-food business operators should roll out their contingency measures. Contingency planning for a “hard” Brexit includes making possible revisions to supply chains, buying-ahead, stockpiling, warehousing, relocating food production, transferring import function, re-labelling, obtaining relevant authorizations and certifications, and taking other practical measures to avoid business disruptions. Companies need to ensure proper controls are in place with regard to import and export regulations.
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