Pushing the Brexit date back from 31 October 2019 to 31 January 2020 does have some short-term positive implications for the New Zealand meat industry, as there is less likely to be any
impact on trade relating to the Christmas lamb market with a no deal Brexit being avoided. In any event, the work done in preparation for a possible Brexit earlier this year means that the red meat sector is well prepared to minimise disruption if and when Brexit occurs.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand is continuing to engage with the EU and the UK on the issue of access for sheepmeat and beef, and holds the firm view that any splitting of the quota between the EU and the UK is an unacceptable erosion of our previously negotiated WTO access rights. We also continue to work closely with the Meat Industry Association, New Zealand Meat Board and the New Zealand Government on Brexit, and EU and UK trade related issues.
What happens next?
While the UK Parliament took the deal Prime Minister Johnson had negotiated with the EU last week through to the second reading, they ultimately refused to support completing the necessary legislation for Brexit by October 31 and the parliamentary process stalled.
This meant Prime Minister Johnson had to ask the EU for an extension to Brexit, and this has been offered by the EU through to 31 January 2020.
Despite there being a deal on the table, attention has now switched to an election because Prime Minister Johnson does not feel confident he will get the current deal through the final parliamentary stages and he wants to get a parliamentary majority through a new election which will allow him to push the last stages through. There is now fierce debate happening in the UK about potential election dates for December.
We will likely have a better idea of what is happening with regards to a UK general election and its date by the end of the week.
Other possible Brexit scenarios
Despite it being a slim chance, the extended deadline with the EU allows the UK to leave on the 1st day of any month between now and 31 January 2020 if a deal is agreed to by the UK Parliament. For example, if Parliament agrees to a deal during December, the UK can leave on the 1st of January by giving notice to the EU. The date of 31 January is therefore the last final day that Brexit could happen.