Fepex has expressed concerns over the effects of a no-deal Brexit on exports of Spanish fruits and vegetables to the UK.
The Spanish fruit and vegetable producer and exporter association said the high volume of produce sent by road to the UK – which in April of 2018 alone totalled 133,862 tonnes, made it particularly vulnerable to extra customs controls at the border.
The Spanish Tax Authority and the Department of Customs and Excise have notified exporters that if the UK parliament fails to ratify the deal proposed by the UK government – which includes a 21-month transition period after the UK’s departure to allow time for trade talks – in a vote next week, this will lead to “momentous changes” to customs and excise arrangements from 30 March onwards.
Fepex warns that a no-deal Brexit would immediately assign the UK third-country status, leading to the requirement for a customs declaration of import/export for every shipment; the introduction of customs controls; the payment of customs duties and other taxes and the requirement of phytosanitary and other quality certifications.
“Depending on the type and volume of traffic, it may be advisable to opt for one of the simplified declaration procedures provided for in the customs regulations,” Fepex said.
“All economic operators must identify themselves to customs officers with a registration and identification number (EORI number) valid throughout the EU. Therefore, if the company does not have this number, it must request it from the AEAT.”
Juan Marin, president of Murcian producer-export association Proexport said despite concerns, he was confident that an agreement would finally be reached.
“The competitive advantage of our products lies in their quality and freshness and the speed with which they arrive on the market,” he told La Verdad.
“Hence it is vital to safeguard the current logistics that allow British consumers to buy a lettuce 40 hours after it has been harvested, and not move towards a situation where bureaucratic delays extend delivery times to five days.”
With the new Spanish stonefruit campaign due to get underway in April, Joaquín Gómez, president of Apoexpa, warned that early varieties could be one of the first casualties of Brexit.
Gómez added that the fall in the value of sterling was already hurting exporters.