AHDB report highlights post-Brexit pork trade threat

If the UK was to leave the EU before a trade deal was agreed, this would leave it vulnerable to tariffs being applied on its exported pigmeat to other EU countries says AHDB in its latest Brexit-based Horizon report.

“Given that the EU accounts for 70% of all pork exports, this (scenario) could have a “sizeable impact” on the UK’s export market, with a knock-on effect on prices,” states the report.

“One particular issue could be exports of sow meat. Germany is the main destination for cull sows, which have little value on the domestic market. Therefore, if these exports were subject to tariffs, it could have significant implications for this market, with sows potentially having little or no value. While this only forms a relatively small part of producers’ incomes, it would certainly have an effect on profitability.”

The report also states that, as with other meats, there is a risk that access to some markets for pigmeat or offal depends on the UK following EU rules and regulations.

“If trade deals are not renegotiated, this trade could be closed off, at least temporarily,” it adds. “Should the UK decide not to impose tariffs on imports, or negotiate quotas with global exporters, this may leave the UK market vulnerable to cheaper pork, for example from the US, Canada or Brazil, which operate at a much lower cost of production.

“This could cause a large over-supply in the domestic market and it would take some time for production levels to respond accordingly. While much of this additional supply may displace imports from the EU, the UK pig price would be negatively affected. This could lead to a substantial reduction of the size of the UK breeding herd.”

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