‘Clarity by Christmas’ – Food and Drink Federation chief urges diplomats to get their skates on
Commenting on the European Council Summit in Brussels, Ian Wright CBE, FDF Director General welcomed what progress had been made, but added that the clock is ticking.
DIVORCE PROCEEDINGS: Exterior of the building of the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.
The EU summit has produced, as with anything Brexit related, a thorny cluster of mixed messages. On the one hand, the signal from EU leaders that they would be willing to move into ‘Phase 2’ of negotiations by December has been hailed by some as a sign the diplomatic cogs my finally be on the move.
Others seen French President Emmanuel Macron’s statement that decisions on a final ‘divorce bill’ are still a long way off as somewhat ominous, denting the atmosphere of progress that the summit may otherwise have left.
Ian Wright, the Director General of the UK’s Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has made a statement on behalf of his group applauding the progress but urging diplomats to get things moving.
He said: “FDF welcomes the fact that the process is moving forward and the language is positive. However, the pace of the negotiations has not been fast enough and many critical questions about our future relationship remain.
“Food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector. Our trading and regulatory ties with the EU are deeply woven. Over 70 per cent of the UK’s trade in food and soft drink is with the EU.
“Swift agreement on a transition period which protects the ability of food and drink producers to seamlessly import and export ingredients and finished products is essential. We must have clarity on transitional arrangements by Christmas, otherwise businesses will feel they have no option but to begin to prepare for the worst.”