The effect of the recent ‘Brexit’ result will undoubtedly resonate for years to come and it is certainly too early to fully understand how businesses will be affected.
Whilst the markets were initially sharply affected by the historic result, the Pet Industry Federation (PIF) wants to see clarity and stability introduced for the business community as quickly as possible, along with re-assurance from the government about how pet businesses will access European Union (EU) markets in the future and how the movement of people and trade will be affected. Exporting will clearly be a big concern for many UK pet suppliers and manufacturers, with the vast majority of those exporting currently doing so to the EU.
We hope that the government will be able to re-assure those businesses that they will continue to be able to do so confidently without incurring far higher levies and costs which could force some into difficulty. PIF will retain an outward looking perspective with organisations such as UKTI where, as a Trade Challenge Partner, PIF can ensure that pet suppliers and manufacturers are kept abreast of news and initiatives to support them during these uncertain times.
Whilst the decision to leave the EU will have a significant impact on the farming and veterinary communities, the welfare of pets is one of the least regulated areas of EU law, with laws covering pet welfare largely devolved to the member states. Legislation on animal cruelty is provided for by laws such as the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The UK is likely to still be bound by World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules on imports and exports, but there could be opportunities to prevent the import of animals (such as trade in puppies from the EU) if they represented a disease or welfare risk, along with implementing other laws on animal welfare which might be better than current EU standards.
Whatever happens, be assured that PIF will continue to engage with key decision-makers at local and government level to ensure that pet suppliers and manufacturers and pet welfare are supported and represented as we enter this brave new world.
What we (think) we know today, that we didn’t yesterday:
1) The UK will have to negotiate a new trade treaty with the WTO and other countries. This could be better or worse for UK business;
2) The UK will still bound by WTO rules which would limit our ability to ban imports or exports of certain products;
3) By leaving the EU, we could adopt our own animal welfare laws and standards which might be a higher standard than EU laws;
4) By leaving the EU, we might be able to prevent the import of animals (such as trade in puppies from the EU) if they represented a disease or welfare risk;
5) The Pet Travel Scheme, as we know it, is likely to go through some revisions in order that pets can continue to travel to and from the EU without going into quarantine.