Southern African citrus growers welcome Brexit

Brexit should see a normalisation of citrus trade between southern Africa and the UK, “unencumbered by protectionism, tariffs and technical barriers to trade,” says the Citrus Growers Association of southern […]
Mon 04/07/2016

Brexit should see a normalisation of citrus trade between southern Africa and the UK, “unencumbered by protectionism, tariffs and technical barriers to trade,” says the Citrus Growers Association of southern Africa.

In his weekly newsletter, published on July 1, CGA CEO Justin Chadwick also said exiting the European Union could see consumers in the UK – the biggest importer of southern African citrus in the past century, taking about 10% of its total citrus exports – enjoy southern African citrus at lower prices.

Chadwick said the impact of the vote by the UK to exit the EU is yet to be fully played out and the consequences – good and bad – will surface for many years.

However, among the longer term ramifications from the point of view of the South African citrus trade include that an independent UK will probably introduce its own plant health regulations, which should be easier to comply with than present EU regulations. “This alone, would be a significant boost for the Southern African citrus industry,” he said.

The UK will also need to enter into new trade negotiations with southern African countries with regard to trade preferences and duties. “Since citrus would not be a sensitive product with regard to protecting domestic producers it could be anticipated that the UK would have reduced duty levels for southern African citrus. This would mean that UK citizens could potentially enjoy excellent quality southern African citrus at even lower prices.”

As for the devaluation of the British Pound against the US$ following the Brexit decision, Chadwick said this will mean imports are more expensive in the UK and could reduce demand for them. “Interestingly the Rand/UK Pound exchange rate has not changed significantly. It will be interesting to see if the currency recovers.”

CGA CEO Justin Chadwick

Southern Africa supplies 36% of the UK’s imported grapefruit, 27% of its imported oranges, 19% of its imported soft citrus and 11% of its imported lemons. South Africa holds a dominant position amongst southern hemisphere suppliers to the UK.

Chadwick also said recent Freshfel statistics show South African fruit and vegetables hold the third spot in terms of imports by the UK in value terms (€510 million), behind Spain (€1.6 million) and the Netherlands (€886 million).

Read his full newsletter here: http://www.cga.co.za/page.aspx?ID=4571