Speaking during the EDA Annual Convention being held in Dublin this week, Paul Vernon, Dairy UK Chairman and CEO of Glanbia Cheese commented:
“The dairy sector needs answers on Brexit. Business leaders need to be able to plan for the medium to long term, and in order to do that we need to know not only if there will be a transition period but how long it will be, and what exactly it entails. This continued turmoil will simply not help UK businesses and will certainly not help the dairy sector.
Dairy UK and the European Dairy Association EDA have jointly developed a ‘Future UK-EU Dairy Framework’ setting out the outcomes the dairy sector hopes to be achieved in the current negotiations between the UK and the EU.
It is our main priority that the relationship between the EU and the UK remains as close as possible to the status quo after Brexit and throughout a transition period.
The UK should preferably remain part of, or at least as close as possible to, the EU Single Market and the Customs Union. This would secure the free movement of milk and dairy products between the EU and UK with no tariffs or quotas from either side for milk and dairy products, and limit non-tariff barriers to trade (SPS/TBT) as much as possible. The EU and UK should have no (significant) divergence in the regulatory sphere when it comes to policies affecting dairy and dairy products and a level playing field should be sustained.
As they debate the future relationship between the UK and the EU, we urge decision-makers on both sides of the Channel to take these observations into account and to do all they can to avoid damaging our industry – and not to harm the consumers we serve. Don’t Spill the Milk.
Dairy UK has published the ’White Paper’ report for 2017 which details the ’game changing’ opportunities and challenges which the industry is facing over issues such as Brexit and consumer confidence in dairy foods.
Dairy UK have called Brexit the most defining issue the industry has faced for generations, with the White Paper 2017 identifying what Brexit needs to deliver to safeguard the future interests of an industry that employs more than 70,000 people, and has an overall turnover of nearly £28 billion.
On prospects for the industry, the White Paper reveals that an increasing demand for dairy globally is putting world milk production on an upward trend.
On the issue of Brexit, Dairy UK says;
- Continued trading agreements with the EU without tariff and non-tariff barriers will mean massive export and growth opportunities – failure will damage exports and reduce demand for dairy;
- The worst outcome from Brexit would be a return to WTO rules;
- An unhurried transition period would give the industry the chance to adapt and take advantage of the opportunities Brexit creates;
- Access to skilled and unskilled labour is vital – failure to maintain access will drive up operating costs, with a major impact on margins;
- UK dairy farmers should not be disadvantaged compared with their European neighbours;
- The Northern Ireland border issue should be resolved by creating a frictionless and seamless border regime that could be a blueprint for future arrangements with the EU.
The White Paper
”With 80% of UK dairy exports currently going to EU countries, any disruption to current agreements would have an extensive and costly impact on our industry.
We support the Government’s commitment to put in place a strong, swift and effective transitional process and urge them to avoid any kind of interruption to current trade agreements with EU countries or the creation of counterproductive tariff or non-tariff barriers.
What we absolutely cannot see is a fall back to WTO default terms as the tariffs within WTO arrangements would have disastrous consequences for dairy trade”, Dr Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK says.
Dairy UK has published a new export strategy to help the dairy industry unlock a ’new world of opportunity’ on international markets.
The strategy, entitled United Kingdom: Exporting Dairy to the World, identifies a raft of actions and recommendations that will enhance the UK dairy industry’s export performance.
The export strategy’s 17 actions and recommendations include: Ensuring a skilled workforce is equipped for the future, Improving the export certification regime, Creating a one-stop shop for dairy exporters, Establishing world-class inspection and audit practices, Identifying market priorities and Removing barriers to dairy trade.