Brexit & trade in the flour milling sector

Millers' priority is the continuation of the current trade flows for flour and flour-based products

Flour production in the 28 EU Member States is approximately 35 million t per year, milled from 45 million t of grain (essentially wheat & rye). Of this total, about 4 million t is produced in the UK, using about 5 million t of grain.

The European Flour Millers strongly favours the establishment of a preferential trade agreement (FTA) between the EU and the UK when the latter leaves the EU.

The UK is a market worth approximately €2 billion a year for EU flour and bakery products, whilst imports from the UK are worth €0,75 billion. We do not wish to see this valuable trade jeopardised, but fear that this might be the outcome if tariffs were introduced or if there were a realistic fear that they might be.

There would be an extremely serious local impact in the Republic of Ireland if tariffs were introduced in our sector, and notable effects on businesses in other Member States close to the UK – France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany.

Whilst the European milling industry recognises the importance of the European Commission maintaining the EU’s negotiating mandate as agreed by Member States, from the perspective of our sector there would be advantage in early agreement of at least an interim position with regard to trade, so that businesses can make plans with greater confidence.