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Food industry leaders warn of Northern Ireland separation over Brexit

27 October 2020 by
Food industry leaders warn of Northern Ireland separation over Brexit

The leaders of 40 British food and drink associations have warned prime minister Boris Johnson that they may stop trading in Northern Ireland following Brexit.

According to an exclusive story by Business Insider, a letter, seen by the New York-based research firm, states that the increased trading costs mean trade in Northern Ireland "will no longer be practical".

The letter, addressed to the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove and environment secretary George Eustice, urged the government to minimise new checks on goods going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland next year.

The industry leaders raised further concerns over the lack of resolution to several issues regarding trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland at the end of the Brexit transition period, which ends in just over two months.

As of 1 January, Northern Ireland is expected to continue to follow EU trading rules to avoid a hard border with the Republic of Ireland, meaning there will be new checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea.

Business Insider detailed a quote from the letter that said: "The added cost, complexity and trade friction this inevitably creates means it will no longer be practical for many of our businesses to supply goods from Great Britain for sale in the Northern Ireland market."

The 39 industry leaders, representing 40 groups, that have signed the letter, are:

  • Ian Wright, chief executive, Food and Drink Federation David Thomson, chief executive, Food and Drink Federation Scotland
  • Pete Robertson, director, Food and Drink Federation Cymru
  • Richard Hands, chief executive, Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment UK
  • Rodney Steel, chief executive, Association for Contract Manufacturing, Packing, Fulfilment & Logistics
  • James Lowman, chief executive, Association of Convenience Stores
  • David Camp, chief executive, Association of Labour Providers
  • Jon Clark, general manager, BPIF Carton s- Emma McClarkin, chief executive, British Beer and Pub Association
  • Paul Rooke, executive director, British Coffee Association
  • Walter Anzer, director general, British Food Importers & Distributors Association and the Vinegar Brewers Federation
  • Richard Harrow, chief executive, British Frozen Food Federation
  • Nick Allen, chief executive, British Meat Processors Association
  • Philip Law, director General, British Plastics Federation
  • Richard Griffiths, chief executive, British Poultry Council
  • Charles Jarrold, chief executive, British Printing Industries Federation
  • Gavin Partington, director general, British Soft Drinks Association
  • Declan O'Brien, director general, British Specialist Nutrition Association
  • Shane Brennan, chief executive, Cold Chain Federation
  • Parminder Kaur, chair, Council for Responsible Nutrition UK
  • Debbie Waldron-Hoines, director, European Flexographic Industry Association
  • Gordon Polson, chief executive, Federation of Bakers
  • James Bielby, chief executive, Federation of Wholesale Distributors
  • Elsa Fairbanks, director, Food and Drink Exporters Association
  • Nigel Jenney, chief executive, Fresh Produce Consortium
  • Alex Waugh, director general, National Association of British and Irish Flour Millers
  • Lynda Simmons, secretary general, National Edible Oil Distributors' Association
  • Michael Bell, executive director, Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association
  • Dick Searle, chief executive, Packaging Federation
  • Michael Bellingham, chief executive, Pet Food Manufacturers Association
  • Michelle Riddalls, chief executive officer, Proprietary Association of Great Britain
  • Andrew Kuyk, director general, Provision Trade Federation
  • Glyn Roberts, chief executive, Retail NI
  • Karen Betts, chief executive, Scotch Whisky Association
  • Colin Smith, chief executive, Scottish Wholesale Association
  • Donna Fordyce, head, Seafood Scotland
  • Angela Bowden, secretary general, Seed Crushers and Oil Processors Association
  • James Smith, chair, UK Flavour Association
  • Kate Nicholls, chief executive officer, UKHospitality.

Photo: Flickr - number10gov

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