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Food: UK Trade with EU

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL1500, tabled on 28 June 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the decline in food and drink sales to the EU on potential job losses within the UK food and drink industry; and what steps they are taking to prevent such job losses.

Answered on

13 July 2021

A unique combination of factors, including stockpiling last year, Covid lockdowns across Europe, and businesses adjusting to our new trading relationship, made it inevitable that exports to the EU would be lower in early 2021 than last year. However, many businesses have adapted well, and our focus now is on making sure that any business that is still facing challenges gets the support they need to trade effectively with the EU.

We continue to engage with the European Commission and the EU Member States, at both a national and Border Control Post level, to ensure that we share a common understanding of the EU’s export rules and how they should apply and to resolve any issues that UK exporters may be experiencing.

The UK’s growing reputation for high quality food and drink, with high standards of animal welfare, traceability and sustainability is an excellent platform to increase overseas demand for our products further.

Through our new independent trade policy we can take advantage of shifts in the global economy. In the next 10 to 15 years, 90% of global economic growth is estimated to occur from outside the EU; and 54% of Britain’s exports of goods and services are now traded outside the EU, compared with only 46% in 2006.

Defra is working closely with industry to help our sectors access the labour they need, and to ensure that they are appropriately supported both this year and in the future.

Defra is also working with industry and the Department for Work and Pensions to raise awareness of career opportunities within our sectors among UK workers.