Brexit is the bummer in exports to Great Britain. Border obstacles cause bumps in exports and make exporters turn to other markets.
In January-August 2021, Dutch horticulturists, growers, slaughterers and butchers exported €193 million less in food products to the UK. Half of this export package consisted of fruit and vegetables. In the first eight months of 2021, Dutch exporters sold fruit and vegetables worth €1.1 billion to British buyers. That is 14% less than in the same period of 2015, the year before the Brexit referendum. In the same period, exports to other countries grew by 34%, more than making up for the loss in the British market
In 2015, Britain was the second largest export destination for food products after Germany; at the moment, the country has become the fourth export destination after Germany, Belgium and France. Conversely, the UK also delivered far fewer goods to the Netherlands that depend on fast logistics, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy and fish. In the first eight months of 2021, Dutch businesses imported €281 million of these goods from the UK. That is almost half less than in 2020.
If the British want Dutch product, it turns out that it can indeed break through the border hurdles. The export of tomatoes – a convenience fresh product in the home kitchen – increased by 2% in the second Covid year compared to 2020.
The figures were released today by the CBS based on preliminary insights into the goods trade over the past year and the latest Internationalization Monitor.
Security of supply
Because international supply chains are set up more on the basis of security of supply as a result of policy changes at commercial companies due to corona and climate change, these shrinkage and growth data mean that Dutch producers must orientate themselves on the markets for which they produce. As compensation for the loss of turnover to the UK, distant markets may become a risk in the long term, as flower exports showed at the start of the corona crisis in 2020.
For companies that have realized the growth of recent years in their own region, this means that the Netherlands is strengthening its regional position as a food province in the NW Europe region. However, the most recent policy – the Rutte IV coalition agreement – seems to be aimed at shrinking production in all sectors in order to legally regulate international agreements in the field of nitrogen, climate, soil and water in a major movement. This can be a signal to entrepreneurs in neighboring countries to increase their food production. Dutch producers of food products will have to take this into account.
Dutch suppliers of technology (such as starting material, greenhouses, stables, machines) can help other regions of the world and our immediate neighbors to improve regional security of supply.
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Fresh food exports to the United Kingdom fall by 8.1% – England lost, exports are growing – for whom do Dutch fresh produce producers? – Food log