FOB Chief Executive’s Weekly News for 4th November 2019

Dear All,

Detailed below is the Weekly News for 4th November.

Have a good week.

Gordon Polson

Chief Executive – Federation of Bakers Ltd

UK manufacturers tapping into overseas markets on the rise: According to the Lloyds bank international trade index, the number of businesses exporting reached the second-highest level in 15 years, boosted by international supply chain efficiency.

90% of largest trading partners posted economic growth in q3’19, with the increasing rate of growth in France and Italy. However, slower growth in markets such as Germany, Ireland, the US and China contributed to a decline in manufacturing export volume. The UK automotive industry posted its weakest quarter for new exports in a decade between jul’19 and sep’19, with respondents citing a decline in European production levels and a global shift in investment towards electric vehicles.

The decline in manufacturing exports was offset by increased overseas sales of chemicals, including pharmaceuticals, and luxury & sporting goods.

Final hurdle cleared to export the UK beef to China: The UK beef industry has cleared the final hurdle in its efforts to unlock exports to China. The Chinese inspection authorities have cleared four sites as being suitable for processing beef for export, with further sites under review.

According to Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), the first consignments of the UK beef could be on Chinese plates by Christmas. The deal is estimated to be worth £230m to British businesses during 2019-24. China is currently the UK’s eighth largest export market for food & drink, with more than £610m of products bought by Chinese consumers in 2018. China has also recently approved five British pork plants to export products to China, and more are expected to be approved by the end of 2019.

Dr Phil Hadley, Director of AHDB international market development stated that the new agreement is fantastic news for their beef processors who will now have access to another market outside of the EU.

Declining EU migration hits the UK logistics sector: According to a report released by Freight Transport Association (FTA) in oct’19, logistics businesses are struggling to fill job vacancies as the number of European Union (EU) nationals immigrating to the UK for work continues to decline. Additionally, declining EU net migration has contributed to a 43% rise in job vacancies in the transport and storage industry over the past 24 months from sep’19. The report also identified difficulties in recruiting younger people and challenge of existing employees reaching retirement age. Also, 60% of heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers are aged 44 years or older and only 19% under the age of 35.

Sally Gilson, head of skills campaigns at FTA stated that the logistics sector is facing serious challenges in the recruitment and retention of labour. 59,000 HGV drivers alone are urgently needed to keep just to keep operations afloat. Businesses within the logistics sector are reliant on access to EU workers to help fill job vacancies and these workers currently constitute 13% of the entire logistics workforce.

Review of the existing maximum residue levels for glyphosate according to Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 – revised version to take into account omitted data

The EFSA received from the European Commission a mandate to revise its previous review of the existing maximum residue levels (MRLs) for glyphosate taking into account additional data that were erroneously omitted in the evaluation report supporting the original MRL review. These additional data were evaluated by the Rapporteur Member State (RMS), Germany, and made available to EFSA in an addendum. Based on the assessment of the overall data available, MRL proposals were derived and a consumer risk assessment was carried out. Although no apparent risk to consumers was identified, some information required by the regulatory framework was missing. The consumer risk assessment is considered indicative only and some MRL proposals derived by EFSA still require further consideration by risk managers.

This publication is linked to the following EFSA Journal article:

Full details on this link

Eatwell Guide Booklet Published

FSS published on 11 October 2019 the Eatwell Guide booklet.

The Guide shows the proportions in which different types of foods need to be consumed to have a well-balanced and healthy diet.

Waste – Plastics Market Situation Report 2019 Published

WRAP published on 15 October 2019 the plastics market situation report 2019, providing updated information about UK plastics recycling and reprocessing.

The report provides an update on key developments, since the last report in 2016, and highlights challenges and opportunities for the future. Key points from the report include:

  • The amount of plastic packaging placed on the market in the last decade has remained broadly stable;
  • UK Local Authorities now collect 10% more plastic waste than in 2013/2014;
  • UK domestic plastic recycling needs to increase to meet targets;
  • Many export markets for plastics have closed, particularly for film, pots, tubs and trays; and
  • The demand for recycled content in plastic packaging has increased.

Waste – Legal Briefing on Plastic Products

CIEH published on 17 October 2019 a legal briefing on plastic products and the new EU Directive.

The briefing provides information on the Directive, that aims to achieve a circular life cycle for plastics, banning some single-use plastics and including a package of producer responsibility measures. It also highlights that the UK has yet to start consultation on implementation of the Directive and mentions the European Citizens’ Initiative that calls for the Directive to be revised to ban all plastic bottles by 2027.