Trade associations from across the UK food and drink supply chain have called on all governments to ensure the continuation of critical imports and exports of food and drink during the coronavirus crisis.
The calls were made in an open letter spear-headed by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and co-signed by trade associations including the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF), Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) and UKHopsitality, among others.
“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 letter said.
“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.”
It added: “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.”