UK Seafood Summit: Is there a hidden hard Brexit waiting for seafood?

Photo: Seafish Photo: Dobson Agency,Keith Photo: Seafish Photo: Dobson Agency,Keith
Formerly known as the Humber Seafood Summit, the event this year takes place over two days and will yet again see Brexit as the most important talking point.

Any future EU-UK trading relationship model based on an FTA will make accessing preferential tariff treatment contingent on compliance with rules of origin (ROO), according to Daniel Capparelli, practice lead at Global Counsel.

Because the EU and UK are likely to maintain high basic tariffs for many processed food and drink products, including fish, some producers excluded from preferential terms may face the prospect of either restricting production and supply chains or a defacto barring from EU-UK trade.

He gave an example of the supply chain for UK-made deep frozen battered fish fingers. The ingredients here show cod sourced from Iceland, China, Russia, Norway, Germany, Poland and Denmark. It then lists pollock sourced from China, the USA and Germany. Haddock is also listed as coming from Iceland and China.

The fish element is imported in deep frozen blocks into the UK. However, CETA and PEM, as most existing ROO frameworks, require fish content to be “wholly obtained” in a party country to the agreement, so the problem is “fish fingers produced in the UK would fail to meet origin reuirements under a futre EU/UK FTA,” said Capparelli.
Capparelli therefore urged the industry to “know your exposure.”

“The more globalized you are in terms of supply chains, the more you might need to worry."

Källa: intrafish.com 12 okt 2018 >>
Anyone have a crystal ball?
When it comes to Brexit, things keep changing on an almost daily basis at the moment -- for example even overnight there was talk of the transition period being extended for another year.

With the situation constantly in flux “you might as well have a crystal ball in front of you,” said Andrew Oliver, partner at Andrew Jackson Solicitors. However he did give a comprehensive summary of how things stand at the moment, in terms of fisheries legislation, access to waters, what to do with extra quotas, management, and trade.

Particularly, he said it was a “vital issue” that the access to markets for fisheries products will be agreed as part of a future economic partnership along with other goods and products, and will be kept completely separate to the question of fishing opportunities and access to waters.

“This is a vital issue, whether you are in fishing or processing,” he said. “It is good to see no linkage… there was a lot of concern market access would be for fishing rights, so it’s good to hear that remains a key point of government policy.”
Oliver added that the current obstacle of the Irish border has been a good thing for the fishing sector.

“The Irish border issue pushed fisheries into the background and this might be a good thing and allow for proper discussions for fisheries,” he said.
Nevertheless, anything could still happen.

“That’s the way it stands at the moment, but it could all change by lunchtime, or with a new government by Christmas – who knows.”
 

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