Speaking today the Chief Executive of Dairy UK, Dr Judith Bryans said: “No matter what your view on Brexit, industry has not been given the clarity or time it needs to ensure it is ready for these potentially huge tariff changes, or deal with the fallout. MP’s need to urgently come together and agree the shape of our future relationship with the EU so industry can adequately plan for the future.
“The EU is our biggest export market, accounting for over 90% of UK dairy exports by volume. Should this trade become subject to high tariffs, they will automatically become uneconomic compared with their EU counterparts. The knock on from this will be a significant displacement of UK dairy products, resulting in a severe price shock due to oversupply. We’ve had this analysed by CEBR, who have confirmed this outcome under unilateral free trade terms.
“Whilst the Government’s proposed tariffs may provide some protection for butter, this is unlikely to be the case for cheese, meaning that in the event of no deal these tariffs won’t protect us from a price collapse or safeguard the long term prosperity of the industry.
“There’s also a risk that in the absence of any agreement the UK could see products of a lower quality, originating from markets with lower food safety standards enter the UK market with ease, undercutting the high quality British products we know and love. We really need to see the Government go further to protect the trade in British dairy products.
“The UK dairy industry has the potential to thrive in a post-EU world, but not if we don’t get this right. We can’t escape the laws of supply and demand. If MPs want to avoid a severe price shock to the UK dairy industry which will have a long term impact on its productive capacity, the answer will only lie in reaching agreement on a relationship with the EU.”