The Possible Pros and Cons of Brexit For the UK Meat Industry

Row & Sons has been in business for more than 100 years and has weathered many extreme national crises and catastrophes along the way. We’ve worked hard to become one of the UK’s leading suppliers of high-end catering hardware and are proud of everything we’ve accomplished. Over recent months, key meat industry players at all levels have been heatedly discussing the possible pros and cons of Brexit for the British meat industry. But once again, Row & Sons believes in the importance of focusing on the possibilities and possible advantages of Brexit, rather than its potential disruption.

While the UK may be leaving the EU, this doesn’t mean that the two entities will be any less reliant on each other to continue serving their own interests. Both for importers and exporters alike, the deal reached when Brexit is finalised will have wide-reaching ramifications, though could work out favourably for all involved.

On-going Mutual Dependence

“The EU is absolutely vital as both a supplier and customer of meat and the UK’s trading relationship with the 27-country union will be key to the future of the UK meat industry. Exports to the EU by value account for 65% of total exports for pigmeat, 70% for poultry and more than 90% for beef and sheepmeat. The EU supplies the UK with more than 90% of its beef, pigmeat and poultry needs, but less than 20% of its sheepmeat import needs because of the reliance on trade from New Zealand.” OFC.org.uk

While the lower value of the pound has proved to be highly negative for many, it has nonetheless spurred a sudden and welcome spike in sheep, cattle and pig prices for UK farmers. What Brexit harms with one hand, it has the very real potential to help with the other.

It is seen as highly unlikely that given the reliance of the EU as a whole on the UK’s farmers and meat industry in general, it would just cut itself off by imposing prohibitive new restrictions, taxes and so on. Some envisage very little changing at all, with the added bonus of independence allowing UK farmers and the country as a whole to form new trade deals and ties with other nations, all over the world.

Opportunities for Expansion

“As with all other products, it is important the UK meat industry does not take its eye off the ball and lose out on export opportunities outside the EU. My analysis suggests that world meat production will need to increase by 90% by 2050 if it is to keep up with world demand. With European population growth effectively static and meat consumption per head falling across the continent, all the growth in the world market is going to take place outside Europe with demand in Africa and Asia particularly strong.” – OFC.org.uk

Once again, it’s a classic illustration of the importance of everyone involved playing their own role in ensuring that the greater good is the primary focus and priority of any deals reached post-Brexit. Row & Sons, like many others, hopes that political muscle-flexing and rhetoric can and will take a backseat, in order for every party involved in the negotiation process to focus on what really matters.

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