Brexit offers trade opportunities in far flung countries

Cranswick's CEO, Adam CouchCranswick's CEO, Adam Couch
Cranswick's CEO, Adam Couch
The CEO of food producer Cranswick was against Brexit, but can now see the opportunities for trade with far flung countries.

Adam Couch said thorough planning ensured the Hull-based firm was well prepared.

"In terms of paperwork, we would be in favour of remaining in the EU," said Mr Couch.

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"That said, we will adapt. I'm broadly positive about Brexit now and I was a Remainer."

Cranswick worked closely with suppliers and customers to manage supply chain risks and it is minimising Brexit costs and supply chain disruption.

"We convened a Brexit steering committee after the referendum," said Mr Couch.

"It's only in the last six months that we built up a real understanding of what was required to mitigate a lot of the stumbling blocks.

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"Paperwork was the main issue and still is. It's typically five extra documents that we have to complete."

Mr Couch estimates that Brexit costs have run into tens of thousands of pounds.

"That has subsided greatly now as we and our customers have got used to the paperwork," he said.

"We are more positive than negative that we will overcome most of these issues over the next four weeks. We were ahead of the curve in appointing agents in Europe, but also in the representation that you need at the border control points."

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He said there is a backlog of pigs on farms that will take "quite a few weeks" to clear. He estimates that 30,000 to 100,000 pigs are stuck on farms, mainly due to Brexit related issues.

Cranswick has welcomed the news that the UK has applied to join the Pacific free trade area, CPTPP.

"The Department of International Trade has done a great job in opening up other routes for export," he said.

"Opening up other trading areas globally will be absolutely key for us. Now we have Brexit, there's no way out of it so we'll make the most of it."

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The CPTPP block includes Canada, Japan, Chile, Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam and Brunei.

"Mexico is a key area because it's a huge importer of pork and we've recently received export accreditation there."

Mr Couch's advice for firms that are struggling post Brexit is to do as much preparation as possible.

"You can't read up enough on this," he said.

"Take as much advice from trade advisors as possible. Contact local MPs and trade organisations. There's a plethora of information out there.

"Keep as close to industry and trade bodies as you can. I can't stress that enough."