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Carl Collen


Spanish sector "concerned" by Brexit

Fepex says UK referendum vote is worrying, while Murcia's Proexport calls the decision "a blow for agriculture" in the region

Spanish sector "concerned" by Brexit

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Fepex, the Spanish fresh produce exporters association, has expressed its concern at the UK's decision to vote to leave the European Union, in a move dubbed 'Brexit'.

The association pointed to the fact that the UK is the third-largest market for its fresh produce exports, taking on 1.1m tonnes in 2015, 11.4 per cent of Spain's total shipments, at a value of €1.6bn.

In fact, Fepex said that exports to the UK had grown 29 per cent in volumes between 2010 and 2015.

Of this total, 787,093 tonnes were vegetables, led by tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce and onions.

Fruit exports to the UK totalled 676,078 tonnes, at a value of €881.9m, with the most exported including citrus, melons, table grapes and nectarines.

"At present, the main concern of the Spanish fruit and vegetable sector is the evolution of the exchange rate, namely the pound against the euro and other competing countries," Fepex said. "However, Fepex feels that Brexit will not effect the long-term trade in the fresh fruit and vegetable sector."

However, Juan Marin, president of Mucian organisation Proexport, called the UK leave vote "a blow for agriculture in Murcia", warning that the region's – and even the wider Spanish – fresh produce industry could lose "many millions of euros".

"We have already had calls and questions from our UK customers, with whom we have closed contracts, and this morning everyone is in shock – especially by the 8 per cent fall in the value of the pound," Marin explained.

"As an immediate consequence, the fall of the pound will cause our products to be more expensive for the UK market," added Fernando Molina, director of Proexport, "as solutions suggest that our producers can negotiate in euros or that the increase is carried forward to the final consumer" Molina said that the greatest concern was for producers and UK distribution chains.

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