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Ed's Brexit round-up - the 'No Deal' papers

24th Aug 2018 / By Ed Barker

We are firmly in the parliamentary recess period, also known as ‘silly season’ when various stories are strung out as a slow news agenda moves through various news agencies. It has been remarked to me by one East Yorkshire based producer that the season itself was silly enough, so how the silly season could make things any sillier was going to be a challenge. A good point.

'No Deal' papers

EdBarkerNPAA lot of this summer has focussed upon a no deal Brexit – and many will have seen a number of technical notices released by the Government across a range of areas, from medicines to GMO labelling to RDPE funding programmes.

We expect more to be released, most notably on moving breeding animals and germplasm, biosecurity and migration, which we will keep a close eye on. Those released yesterday (on exporting products, VAT and BPS payments) weren’t exactly a bag full of surprises – we were reminded that the UK would be treated as a third country in a no deal scenario.

In 2017 the UK exported 157,000 tonnes of pork to the EU, worth £208m, and this still represents our biggest export market for pork, even if it has been on a slight downward trend in favour of Asian markets in recent years.

The notices explain, in horrible detail, all of the red tape required to export anything – including meat products – outside the UK. The Government’s own advice is that smaller businesses would need to hire an export agent to deal with the multiple form filling and codes required. Inevitably this bureaucracy bears a cost, which is inevitably going to be passed on up or down the chain.

Many tax experts have also called into question how VAT receipts can be collected adequately – the Government has stated that it would allow VAT rates to be paid later and not at point of import, though this could be a green light for fraud.

Ireland again

And this leads us to Ireland again! It was interesting that very little was mentioned of the Irish border – the overriding commentary on it was along the lines of ‘the Irish border offers so many complications regarding VAT, duty etc we will have to deal with it as and when it arises’. Not the most optimistic of reads it has to be said.

Agriculture Bill 

Aside the no dal notices, we do have a lot to look ahead to in the Autumn. We are expecting the release of an Agriculture Bill – that will in effect provide details as to what powers the UK Government will take from the EU, outlining who is in charge of oversight and enforcement, and the powers of Ministers.

We are expecting some explanatory documents to go with it, risk assessments and a Defra response to the Health and Harmony paper, all in one go. It will be a very busy time, and we expect party conference season to have a greater covering of food and farming than it probably has done for many years.

Much work for us in the NPA, and hopefully a time that can help shape a better regulatory future for the pig sector.

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