Brexit: Lord Adonis issues warning over shellfish exports
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John Longworth warned the bloc’s plan would backfire as it “has a lot to
lose” in terms of trade.
Figures released this week by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed a massive drop in the number of exports to the EU in January compared to the same month last year.
After the Brexit transition period ended on December 31, there was a 40.7 percent decline in UK exports to the continent in the four weeks that followed.
During the same period, EU exports to the UK fell by 28.8 percent.
British companies have been complaining about the mountains of paperwork they have had to wade through since January 1.
And Mr Longworth, a former Brexit Party MEP, said the huge amount of border checks and documents required by the Europeans shows they are determined to punish Britain.
He told marketplace.org: “They are punishing us for having the temerity to want to have our own laws and our own liberty.”
But he warned the bloc would have to suffer the consequences of such actions as it is also punishing itself in the process.
He added: “They have a lot to lose in comparison with us.”
The UK remains of the bloc’s largest trading partners.
In 2020, as the Covid pandemic raged around the world, Britain was ranked the EU’s third-largest trading ally after China and the US.
Trade between the 27-member bloc and its former member nation totalled €444.7 billion (£381.4bn).
British fishermen have been among some of the hardest hit by the post-Brexit red tape.
Fishermen have reported delays of up to three days for their products en route to destinations across continental Europe.
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Alan Steer, a shell fisherman based in the Devon fishing village of Beesands, said the delays have had significant consequences for his catch.
Mr Steer said the new system can mean the difference between the crab arriving in Europe alive or dead.
He said: “Eighty percent of the crabs we catch are sold in continental Europe, and before Brexit they would be delivered to the market within a day.
“Now, with all the paperwork and certification, it can take three or more days for our catch to reach its destination, which for a live crab product can be fatal.”
Most fishermen who deal in shellfish sell their catch to the European market as Britons do not share their neighbours’ appetite for crabs, lobster and bivalve molluscs.
On Wednesday the issue of delays at the border and the drop in exports was raised in the House of Lords.
Labour peer and staunch opponent of Brexit, Lord Adonis said: “We are of course where we are.
“But I am sure he would agree we have a particular problem at the moment with the export of animals, meat and shellfish, where exports are down by between 56 and 83 percent.”
He later announced that he will hold a meeting with Lord Frost, the former chief Brexit negotiator, to discuss possible solutions.
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