Concern grows in Spanish produce industry as Brexit talks draw closer

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Concern grows in Spanish produce industry as Brexit talks draw closer

Spain's leading produce association FEPEX has said the sector is growing increasingly worried about the implications of Brexit, highlighting the country is the third-largest market for fruit and vegetable exports. 

The British government recently announced it would trigger the legal clause to officially begin negotiations on leaving the European Union (EU) on March 29.

FEPEX said that not only was the U.K. a key market for Spanish exporters, but it was also growing rapidly.

In 2016, the value of exports rose 14% in value and 12% in volume year-on-year, to €1.8 billion (US$1.9 billion) and 1.5 million metric tons (MT) respectively.

"In 2016, the U.K.'s total share of the destination countries for Spanish exports also grew, rising from 13.5% in 2015 to 14.1% in 2016," the organization said.

Vegetables represented 46% of the value of exports to the country last year, with the remainder corresponding to fruit.

FEPEX explained vegetable exports to the U.K. were "very diversified", but said the leading products included tomatoes, lettuce, bell peppers, cucumbers and onions.

Meanwhile, mandarins are the most heavily export fruit, followed by raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. 

"FEPEX considers it a priority to maintain a single market without borders between the EU and the United Kingdom so that, in addition to maintaining access to this country, the homogeneity of legislation is maintained, since the phasing out of Community rules can lead to phytosanitary barriers and distortions of competition," it said.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said in January that the country "cannot possibly" remain within the European single market, as staying in it would mean "not leaving the EU at all".


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