Is the European meat industry heading for crisis?

Following a meeting this week at the EU Agrifish Council, the Commission is looking into how the European meat industry can be safeguarded against the threat of disruption from increased imports from the Ukraine, and from Brexit.

Since the DCFTA was applied in 2016, meat exports from the Ukraine have increased by 32%. It’s also expected that 15% of exports to the EU will be from the Ukraine this year.

Because of this, some member states have expressed their concerns that it cause problems in the coming years for the EU farming industry. In particular, they have pointed to the poultry imports, of which Ukraine is a major supplier and some states argue it’s causing imbalance in the market.

Additionally, Brexit is just around the corner and the risk of no-deal is becoming a real possibility. If the UK goes ahead with its plan to remove tariffs on 87% of goods in the event of no-deal, it could mean market disturbance for at least 12 months, which is how long the UK plans to remove tariffs for.

Ireland would be the most affected by this change in tariffs. Over 50% of meat exports from Ireland are to the UK, and the market is worth an estimated 800 million euros. Dairy and beef are most at risk.

Other member states could also be affected, either directly or indirectly. Among those that could be directly affected are Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and France.

Although there’s been no confirmation of the EU’s contingency plan for this yet, the EU agriculture boss said the bloc is preparing for all scenarios. This is part of the EU’s wider planning for no-deal Brexit, which could affect a range of industries in different member states. 

He noted in a statement: “We have a lot of experience in dealing with these market disturbances related to market developments.”


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