BRUSSELS, Belgium: In an ever increasingly competitive and global business environment, the news of the outcome of last week’s referendum on UK’s membership of the EU has hit particularly hard companies operating in the trade and distribution of cut flowers and plants on the European market.
With a market share of around €1 billion and as the second largest import market for floricultural products, the UK is a major destination for suppliers and traders based in the EU (the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Denmark and Belgium in particular), but also in Kenya, Colombia, South Africa, Turkey, Israel and Morocco. The diverse range of businesses contributing to the overall supply of floriculture products to the UK market have long been operating at a fully international scale and are characterized by cross-borders activities along the value-chain, heavily relying on the benefits offered by the EU single market in terms of market access conditions and harmonized rules and regulations.
“The forthcoming exit of the UK from the EU triggers many uncertainties for floriculture businesses in the EU and across the world. Longer-term perspectives are particularly unclear at this moment as various scenarii are being envisaged for the future trade relations between the UK and its current trade partners in the EU and in the rest of the world”, says Herman de Boon, president of Union Fleurs, the International Flower Trade Association which gathers in its membership all the major countries supplying flowers and plants to the UK market.
“The market fragmentation and the possible reinstatement of tariff and non-tariff barriers, particularly in the area of phytosanitary rules and other norms and standards, that could result from a stand-alone UK will directly impact the operations of many floriculture businesses in the EU and worldwide. For more than 50 years, Union Fleurs has stood for the free flow of floricultural products from supplying countries to consumption markets and advocated for a level-playing field along the supply-chain in the EU and the rest of the world. We will continue actively promoting seamless markets and trade in Brussels and will closely monitor the next steps in the re-designing of the UK’s trade relations with the EU and the world as they will unfold. Many questions need answering as early as possible for businesses to adjust and absorb the aftermath of the outcome of the British referendum, which we all deeply regret.”