With 30 days to go until the UK leaves the EU, new research has warned of the financial impact of a no-deal Brexit on the red meat industry.
The ‘Potential administrative cost implications for Scotland’s red meat sector exports when trading with the European Union under World Trade Organisation rules’ study, undertaken by the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society on behalf of the Scottish government, warns that if the UK leaves the EU on 31 October without a deal in place, the non-tariff cost of exporting red meat from the UK to the remaining EU Member States after Brexit could increase by up to £276 (€311.20) per shipment under World Trade Organisation rules. Costs will be further compounded by the fact that tariffs could potentially reach between 45% and 50%, while transport and insurance will incur additional outlay.
The Scottish red meat industry is worth more than £891m (€1.005bn) annually and supports around 50,000 jobs; and around 90% of Scotland’s exports of red meat are to EU customers. The study says: ‘A hard Brexit that jeopardises the market access of Scotland’s beef and sheep industry to European markets will have a greater impact in Scotland when compared to the rest of the UK.’
Scottish Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “A no-deal Brexit is by far the biggest threat to our red meat sector and our successful food industry. This research is further evidence that Scotland’s red meat sector would be worse off under every scenario when compared to the current trade arrangements. With the export market already highly competitive, any additional costs involved with exporting to our largest trading partner post-Brexit is likely to put sales, and therefore businesses and jobs, at risk. The UK government should look at the weight of evidence collated over the last three years about the potential impact of no-deal [Brexit] on industries such as this and take it off the table once and for all.”