Brexit: “Let’s not mess around, this is political, fish is fish”

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Clarity surrounding the impact of Brexit is much needed.

Attending this year’s 2020 Norwegian UK Seafood Summit in London, Jean-Noel Calon project manager from the industrial port Capecure in Boulogne Sur Mer, said that France’s heart of seafood processing – where 5000 people were employed mainly from the local area. He explained was different to the places in the UK like Peterhead – which sources a large number of workers from Eastern Europe.

Asked what he thought about Pure Salmon’s 10,000-tonne a year land-based RAS farm, announced last week in the area, Calon said that it was “interesting”.

Jean-Noel Calon from Capecure Boulogne sur Mer. PHOTO: Owen Evans

Process 10 times more
“It’s more of a hub in Boulogne – 35,000 tonnes of seafood passes through, but we process 10 times more,” said Calon.

While the subject of the conference was driving the future of seafood consumption by 2030, the UK’s imminent leave date from the EU at the end of January was very much on the agenda.

“That’s why Brexit is important,” said the fish veteran, who was crossing his fingers that the UK will get a deal, especially for the Scottish salmon which gets processed there, and hoping for frictionless transport of seafood into Europe.

This is political
Without that, “we will have to have duties”, he said. “Let’s not mess around, this is political, he said, fish is fish”.

Matthew Oxenford, Lead UK and Brexit Analyst from The Economist Intelligence Unit, went into great detail about the what the future landscape of the UK economy and it’s trading relationships post Brexit

Highlighted that Brexit will represent a major export shock and that “most free trade agreements take 3 to 5 years” – whereas the UK is expecting to the process in less time which “will possibly pose a challenge going forward”.

UK less competitive
“Right now the UK is in the customs union, no customs checks, no cost to the exporter importer. There may be tariffs in the event they leave the customs union but they may negotiate a no tariff agreement –  but even if there is that – then they still have to check to make sure where the goods come from,” said Oxenford to SalmonBusiness.

“There is a huge amount of regulatory hurdles that will suddenly have to be imported into the supply chain and that’s – in this globalised world – without even really knowing what it’s going to be – is going to suddenly make the UK less competitive,” he added.