Industry calls for help on Brexit referendum

The meat sector is turning to independent experts for advice on a potential exit for Great Britain from the EU ahead of the referendum on 23 June. 

The International Meat Trade Association (IMTA) has called for more information from the government on the outcomes of the impending referendum and how a British exit may impact those operating in the meat processing industry.

Following the second meeting of its EU referendum working group, set up to identify any question its members would need answers to, IMTA director Liz Murphy said: “There is not enough information provided by government regarding the prospects if the UK were to leave or the options for an exit in order to make an informed choice.”

Despite appeals to the government for information on the referendum, Murphy said details have been in short supply, especially in the event of a yes result.

“IMTA has asked the question to Defra whether there is any contingency planning for an exit.

“They advised that there is no plan b and that would only begin if there was an out vote where there would be a two-year period, as provided for in the Lisbon Treaty, to negotiate with the EU for an exit deal.

This is of great concern to IMTA members because business contracts are often agreed years in advance and this brings great uncertainty.

“In the absence of information from government we are looking to relevant experts in the academic world to assist us in answering these questions,” added Murphy. “Professor Alan Matthews of Trinity College Dublin gave a very informative and helpful presentation at the AHDB Outlook conference recently which considered the different exit options and how this may impact upon tariffs and trade costs.”

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