García Ballester Valencia Late variety

The Citrus Management Committee (CGC), the umbrella group for some of Spain’s biggest private exporters, has warned that the country’s fourth biggest export market could be under threat if the UK fails to reach an agreement with the European Union on their future trade policy.

Last month, the UK set out its post-Brexit tariff regime, under which clementine and mandarin imports will be subjected to a 16 per cent tariff from 1 January 2021, while oranges will face a rate of 3.2 per cent.

CGC says this will put Spain at a serious disadvantage as the UK has signed preferential agreements with South Africa, Israel, Morocco and Turkey allowing them to export to the UK under a 0 per cent tariff.

UK sources confirmed to Fruitnet that there is already a signed continuity trade agreement in place between the UK and Morocco which comes into effect on 1 January 2021. However, negotiations with Egypt are still underway.

As part of the Customs Union with the EU, the UK’s future trading relationship with Turkey will be influenced by the outcome of the agreement the UK reaches with the EU.

The UK is Spain’s fourth largest customer for citrus, importing approximately 288,000 tonnes per year, of which approximately 200,000 tonnes are clementines and mandarins.

Valencia, which supplies around 80 per cent of the Spanish citrus destined for the UK, will be the worst hit region.