EU casts doubt on UK proposal for post-Brexit customs arrangement

editorial image

The UK’s and EU’s chief Brexit negotiators – Dominic Rabb and Michel Barnier – held a press conference last week in Brussels to provide an update on talks.

One key area of discussion was the UK’s proposal for a “facilitated customs arrangement”, which would see the UK collect customs duties for EU-bound goods on behalf of the European Commission as well as operate its own independent trade policy with separate tariffs for UK-destined goods.

The system is designed to minimise, if not eliminate, trade friction at a new UK-EU border – an important priority to avoiding disruption for the agri-food sector on both sides of the channel.

On this point however, Mr Barnier stated that: “The EU cannot and the EU will not delegate the application of its customs policy and rules and VAT and excises duty collection to a non-member who would not be subject to the EU’s governance structures.”

EU to increase US soybean imports

Industry representatives have said that the EU is likely to import up to 3 million extra tonnes of soybeans from the US this autumn as a result of several factors driving down production of the important product.

Drought in Europe, a poor Argentine harvest resulting from extreme weather, Chinese tariffs on US soy exports and a Brazilian price hike have all contributed to an increased need of soybeans from the US.

Despite the joint EU-US statement on bilateral trade made last week, in which it was said that the EU would increase its imports of soybean from the US, industry representatives cite price as the main driver.

SMP stocks sold in 22nd tender

At last week’s Committee for the Organisation of Agricultural Markets member states accepted offers to sell 2,408 tonnes of skimmed milk powder (SMP) out of public intervention storing at a minimum price of €112.5/100kg, showing a decrease in price and quantity sold at the last tender.

The total amount of sold product is now just over 102,000 tonnes. The next tender will take place in the last week of August.