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16 April 2020

Trade associations call for the continuation of critical trade

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FDF has issued the following press release:

Trade associations from across the UK food and drink supply chain have come together to publish a letter, calling on all Governments to ensure the continuation of critical imports and exports of food and drink at this critical time:

COVID-19 is the biggest threat this country has faced in decades, and all over the world we are seeing its devastating impact. It is therefore not surprising that this creates huge challenges for the United Kingdom. Our food and farming industries are working hand-in-hand with departments across the Government on a daily basis to ensure that consumers have continued confidence that there will be adequate supplies of food and drink.

This global crisis highlights just how integral food and farming industries are to our country's critical national infrastructure and Government has rightly acknowledged the crucial role played by the more than four million hidden heroes in every community that work across the UK's essential farm-to-fork supply chain.

Now more than ever, it is critical that we keep imports and exports of food and drink flowing. Essential movements of ingredients and raw materials must continue so that we can supply consumers across the UK.

The continuation of trading through open markets will also be absolutely vital to help aid the global economic recovery and protect the economies of many supplying countries. We have seen some countries introduce trade restrictions that may have the unfortunate consequence of impeding the flow of goods between nations. While it is understandable that some may place temporary selective restrictions on exports where there is a direct threat posed to the ability of their communities to access affordable food and drink, it is incumbent on the UK and other developed nations to lead the way and reject moves towards protectionism.

UK food and drink is an international success story, exporting more than £23 billion of quality products each year. These exports are essential to ensure UK businesses have access to working capital that means production for the UK market is viable. They provide an outlet for outstanding British products all over the world. They allow movements of ingredients and raw materials to near neighbour countries for further processing that cannot be performed in the UK, with the goods returning to the UK where they will end up on shop shelves and in our restaurants.

Our industry cannot operate in isolation if we are to continue providing world-leading quality, choice and value for money. Our farmers rely on imported feed and need access to other markets to sell their products, especially where demand in the UK is insufficient. Our manufacturers rely on exports to grow their businesses and imports to complement their use of domestically produced ingredients and raw materials. Our restaurants and retailers need access to a full range of goods all year round to balance seasonality and meet consumer demand.

The UK food and drink industry calls on all Governments to ensure trade continues to flow freely and without restriction, so that together we can come through this incredibly difficult time stronger than ever.

Yours sincerely,
Ian Wright CBE
Chief Executive

Co-signed by:
Robert Sheasby, Chief Executive
Agricultural Industries Confederation (AIC)
David Camp, Chief Executive
Association of Labour Providers (ALP)
Emma McClarkin, CEO
British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA)
Paul Rooke, Executive Director
British Coffee Association (BCA)
Walter Anzer MBE, Director General
British Food Importers & Distributors Association and the Vinegar Brewers Federation
Richard Harrow, Chief Executive
British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF)
Philip Law, Director General
British Plastics Federation (BPF)
Gavin Partington, Director General
British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA)
Declan O'Brien, Director General
British Specialist Nutrition Association (BSNA)
Parminder Kaur, Chair
Council for Responsible Nutrition UK (CRN UK)
Gordon Polson, Chief Executive
Federation of Bakers (FOB)
James Bielby, Chief Executive
Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD)
John Whitehead OBE, Director
Food and Drink Exporters Association (FDEA)
Pete Robertson, Director
Food and Drink Federation Cymru (FDF Cymru)
David Thomson, Chief Executive
Food and Drink Federation Scotland (FDF Scotland)
Andy Richardson, Chair
Food and Drink Wales Industry Board
Nigel Jenney, Chief Executive
Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC)
Graham Keen, Executive Director
Health Food Manufacturers' Association (HFMA)
Katie Doherty, CEO
International Meat Trade Association (IMTA)
Michael Bell, Executive Director
Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA)
Dick Searle, Chief Executive
Packaging Federation (PF)
Michelle Riddalls, CEO
Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB)
Karen Betts, Chief Executive
Scotch Whisky Association (SWA)
James Withers, Chief Executive
Scotland Food & Drink
Simon Cripps, Director
Seasoning and Spice Association (SSA)
Angela Bowden, Secretary General
Seed Crushers and Oil Producers Association (SCOPA)
Michael Bellingham, Chief Executive
Pet Food Manufacturers' Association (PFMA)
James Smith, Chairman
UK Flavour Association
Sharon Hall, Chief Executive
UK Tea and Infusions Association (UKTIA)
Kate Nicholls, CEO
UKHospitality
Miles Beale, CEO
Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA)

More Information

Contact Megan Bevan, Corporate Affairs Division, at: Megan.Bevan@fdf.org.uk, or 07946 340 998.

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