Bodies representing the UK food sector have urged the country’s government to take up a growth-driven agenda in future trade talks.

The UK leaves the European Union at the end of this week as Brexit takes effect and then talks on the future trading relationship with the EU can begin, as can the country’s negotiations on trade deals with other nations.

The UK’s Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has joined forces with the Brexit Arable Group and the Provision Trade Federation to draw up a paper informing the government of their priorities in future trade talks.

They said their their ambition is for a future UK trade policy which will “drive growth, promote efficient and sustainable food production and stimulate innovation, while providing consumers and shoppers with even greater choice and better value”.

The recommendations include accommodating Rules of Origin and ensuring they are tailored to meet the needs of the industry and giving business time to adapt to changes in competitive positioning arising from the creation of new trade agreements.

The groups also want thought to be given to the benefits and costs of choosing to move away from existing regulatory technical standards and the encouraging of job creation and value addition in every region of the UK by prioritising agri-food.

Other recommendations include retaining the “UK’s ability to deliver high standards at competitive consumer prices” and encouraging sustainable food production while diminishing environmental impacts.
Ian Wright, the FDF’s CEO, said: “The food and drink industry is absolutely committed to working with government and the devolved administrations on the development of more detailed plans and practical solutions for our vital industry as we leave the EU.

“No industry is more uniquely placed to deliver the benefits of trade to every UK community. Together our supply chain produces, packages, distributes and sells a wide range of food and drink at every price point, more than ever before, in every corner of the UK.”