Brexit could result higher seafood prices on both sides of the English Channel, if the EU imposes tariffs on prepared whitefish destined for Britain and the UK retaliates, a Rabobank report warns.
Should the UK leave the European Union without a free-trade deal, then the price of processed and prepared whitefish — the stuff of English favourite, fish-and-chips — could face export tariffs of as much as 18 percent on retail- and food-service varieties.
Parts of Fishing for Answers, a Rabobank report on UK fisheries scenarios, were posted on a British Telecom Web page and warn of potential ill effects for the sector. The report suggests Britain would have to agree free-trade deals with Iceland, its largest supplier of whitefish, plus Norway, the Faroe Islands and the EU — collectively the source of half of all whitefish imports to the UK — in order to keep prices of the prized protein supply down.
While Ireland and the UK have seen surging salmon demand — with salmon topping cod as the Britannic favourite in recent months — London could impose export tariffs on Scottish salmon products destined for France should the GBP 100 million in preserved fish from the EU be made to carry a tariff. On their own, the resulting higher whitefish prices could mean less domestic UK demand for whitefish and more demand for other seafood sources like salmon.
“This tit-for-tat would likely result in consumers paying more for the most popular seafood and fish products both in Britain and the EU,” the Rabobank report concludes.