Food and Drink Federation joins call for action on trade amid Covid-19

The UK Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has joined with British business associations in signing a joint letter to the government, calling on support to ensure the continuation of critical imports and export supplies amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Representing a number of major firms within the confectionery and snacks segments, the trade body said Covid-19 represents the biggest threat this country has faced in decades.

Consequently, it has combined with a range of key organisations including Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, the Food and Drink Exporters Association and Council for Responsible Nutrition UK among many others, in seeking urgent action to protect key industries.

Ian Wright, chief executive of the FDF (pictured), said that the global crisis highlights just how integral food and farming industries are to our country’s critical national infrastructure and Government has rightly acknowledged the crucial role played by the more than four million ‘hidden heroes’ working across the food and drink supply chain.

The FDF said that continuation of trading through open markets “will also be absolutely vital to help aid the global economic recovery,” as well as  protecting the economies of many supplying countries.

In a statement, it said: “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.

“UK food and drink is an international success story, exporting more than £23 billion of quality products each year. These exports are essential to ensure UK businesses have access to working capital that means production for the UK market is viable. They provide an outlet for outstanding British products all over the world. They allow movements of ingredients and raw materials to near neighbour countries for further processing that cannot be performed in the UK, with the goods returning to the UK where they will end up on shop shelves and in our restaurants.”

The organisation noted that manufacturers across all segments rely on exports to grow their businesses and imports to complement their use of domestically produced ingredients and raw materials. As such, it added its hope that governments around the world would be committed to continuing to allow free flowing trade between nations.

 

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