UK seafood processors, traders to tackle Brexit challenges through new alliance
With the strong support of their seafood members, both the United Kingdom’s Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and the Provision Trade Federation (PTF) have agreed to come together to create the UK Seafood Industry Alliance.
Following the referendum vote in June to leave the EU, U.K. seafood processors and traders are uniting in the new alliance, which will represent the industry’s interests and campaign for the best possible future arrangements with the EU and other trading partners.
A statement issued by FDF and PTF said the aim of the alliance is to provide a broadly based, clear and compelling new voice at national, EU and international level to meet the full range of challenges in providing consumers with secure, affordable, nutritious and sustainable fishery products at a time of unprecedented uncertainty and change.
“In particular, we need to secure long-term growth through improved access to the raw materials we need and to ensure that we attract the necessary investment and skills to boost productivity in supplying food that plays a key role in the health of the nation,” it said.
The alliance will have a membership structure which allows seafood members of either FDF or PTF to be part of it and other seafood companies will be able to join by becoming members of either organization, on their respective normal membership terms.
The secretariat will be based at PTF in Clerkenwell, London, who will be responsible for day-to-day operations. Furthermore, the alliance will take over FDF’s existing membership of AIPCE-CEP (the European fish processors and traders association) and lead on behalf of the industry in discussions with government and others on Brexit policymaking.
It will also work closely with Seafish and other organizations across the wider fisheries agenda.
The alliance chair will be elected from the membership. Andrew Kuyk, director-general of PTF, will lead policy formation, drawing on his EU negotiating experience as a former U.K. civil servant and his work with the FDF Seafood Group prior to taking up his current role at PTF.
“Whatever the U.K.’s new relationship with the EU, maintaining the sustainability, integrity and viability of our seafood industry will be a paramount challenge. We will only succeed by working together in the common interest. Our new alliance sends a powerful signal of intent. I am grateful for the support and trust of those who have promoted this initiative,” said Kuyk.
Ian Wright, FDF director, said, “In the post-Brexit environment I believe this kind of close collaboration between trade associations will become a new normal if we are to represent members effectively.”
Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister Teresa May has said she will put the country on course to leave the EU by March 2019 by invoking Article 50 no later than the end of March next year.