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Seafood Processing



A new seafood resource for Brexit trade issues has been released by Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, to support the seafood production industry. The Rules of Origin and EU/UK Free Trade Agreements information note summarises a report prepared by Global Counsel, which proposes how Rules of Origin could work in a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the UK and the EU.

The protocols for current FTAs with the EU, such as the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and Pan EuroMediterranean Convention (PEM), require products to wholly originate in a country party to the agreement.

Global Counsel identified eight changes that would need to be made to the existing FTA protocol to enable the current EU/UK trade to continue and produced a draft protocol of the ‘Rules of Origin’ for a future FTA. The report uses fish fingers as a case study to help assess how the protocol would work for seafood products and proposes four solutions to ensure that existing UK seafood trades would be covered by a future FTA.

Work on the report began in March 2018 when the Food & Drink Federation, on behalf of its members, commissioned Global Counsel to assess the impact of applying the CETA and PEM protocols to a range of processed food products. Seafish contributed funding to this project and has been working with Global Counsel to provide data and knowledge on the trade in seafood.

Fiona Wright, Head of Regulation, said “Leaving the EU will impact the UK seafood industry, but there is no organisation better placed than Seafish to help the industry manage this change and we play a vital role in identifying the potential implications of Brexit and equipping the seafood industry to respond.

“We have worked with the FDF and Global Counsel to support the production of the Rules of Origin report and we are now sharing the information note to help the seafood production industry to understand how a new protocol could enable them to operate within a new free trade agreement.”

The draft protocol is currently being considered by central government. Subject to agreement, Seafish expects government to consult with the wider group of UK food and drink trade associations and their EU counterparts on the proposal. Seafish will provide further updates on the status of this draft protocol and the wider Rules of Origin issue as further clarification becomes available.

A copy of the information note is available to download from the Seafish website here: https://www.seafish.org/article/seafish-work