BDSI renews call for strengthening EU single market in response to Brexit trading uncertainty

The BDSI German confectionery sector organisation has renewed its call for greater EU focus on ensuring harmonised legal standards, including product labelling, as the European single market celebrates its 30th anniversary, reports Neill Barston.

According to the group, which represents more than 200 key businesses across the sector, noted that Brexit in particular, bringing to an end unrestricted trade with the UK, with its population of 67 million now outside of the bloc. As has been widely reported, the resulting trading barriers that have negatively impacted on both Britain and the rest of Europe.

Furthermore, as Confectionery Production recently covered, figures from the UK’s Food and Drink Federation last year showed that confectionery exports to the EU were down 1.6% for chocolate sales against 2019 figures, (at £755 million), which had traditionally been the second strongest segment for the economy, with wider export trade across all food and drink down 13% against pre-pandemic levels – with greater logistics costs and additional administrative burdens playing a strong factor in those declines.

Moreover, the impact on British exports to Europe is believed to have been among topics at what national media have described as a two-day ‘secret summit’ this month the UK between leading Brexit figures including Brexit-supporting government minister Michael Gove, and leaders of the Labour opposition party to privately discuss how to remedy the situation over trade with European neighbours, which analysts and major industry organisations including Bloomberg Economics concluding that Brexit is costing the UK £100 billion a year, with its economy left 4% smaller as a result of impacted trade. Furthermore, the IMF has forecast that the British economy is set to shrink by 0.6% this year – the only major country in Western Europe projected to do so.

For its part, the BDSI noted a comparison of confectionery exports in 1993 with 2022 shows the strong dynamics that foreign trade in confectionery recorded in these years.

Since the introduction of the domestic market, the total volume of exported confectionery has increased by +333% from 569,000 tons in 1993 to 2.5 million tons in 2022. The value of confectionery and snack items exported from Germany has increased from €1.4 billion  increased by +612% in 1993 to €10.3 billion in 2022.

Today, it added, unrestricted movement of goods is taken for granted in an economic area with a population of almost 450 million. Brexit and the associated loss of around 67 million consumers show how important it is for the German economy to maintain the freedom to buy goods. In 2019, the year before Brexit, Great Britain accounted for 11.4% of EU exports at €6.7 billion.

Consequently, the BDSI said it was now calling for a ‘trend reversal,’ to ensure that the single market is not further undermined, but instead maintained, further expanded and brought back into the focus of European economic policy. The association recently demanded this in a letter to EU President Ursula von der Leyen.

As the trade group noted, the confectionery sector has remained a notable element of Germany’s economy, and accounts for around 10% in sales, the country’s confectionery industry is the fourth-largest branch of the country’s food industry, employing around 60,000 people across the sector.

“The 30th anniversary of the internal market must be a wake-up call for European politicians to counteract fragmentation, in particular as a result of labelling law, and to think about strengthening the common market and legal standardisation again in legislative projects. Because for years we have been witnessing a gradual erosion of the common market. For food production, the EU member states have gone their own way in terms of nutritional value labeling or environmental or recycling labelling, but also labelling of origin or additives regulations and have destroyed the uniform legal framework through special national regulations,” said Dr. Carsten Bernoth, General Manager of the Federal Association of the German Confectionery Industry (BDSI).



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