CAOBISCO, the association of the Chocolate, Biscuits & Confectionery Industries of Europe, is calling on authorities in the European Union and the United Kingdom to extend the Brexit transition agreement as long as necessary.

The association says it’s concerned a thought-through, balanced trade agreement with the United Kingdom could be jeopardized through the current advancement of negotiations and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The social and economic impact the COVID-19 crisis has on the chocolate, biscuits and confectionery sectors will have to be measured but the cost will be high,” CAOBISCO said in a statement. “In this context, it makes sense to provide our industries with elements of certainty in a volatile time and thus, extend the transition period.”

CAOBISCO added a no-deal Brexit or a bad deal as of 2021 would be detrimental to the industry and the overall food supply chain, with a significant decrease in EU exports and revenue coupled with job losses. 

“We are hopeful that in order to preserve business activities between the EU and the UK, a balanced and ambitious trade agreement with appropriate product-specific rules of origin will be implemented as of Day One of the end of the transition period.”

CAOBISCO EU-UK trade in figures 

CAOBISCO products (confectionery, chocolate and fine bakery wares) are the top food and drink products traded with the UK (total trade represents more than €6 billion per year). Biscuits/pastries and chocolate are respectively the second and third most valuable group of food exports from the EU to the UK, and the second and fourth most valuable food imports to the EU from the UK. (Source Eurostat) 

In 2019, more than 1.5 million metric tonnes of CAOBISCO products were exported to the UK, representing a value of around €5 billion. Imports from the UK to EU27 represented roughly 500,000 metric tonnes (around €1.6 billion). Ireland imports more than 45 percent  of CAOBISCO products from the UK. 

CAOBISCO industries are major users of EU and UK agricultural raw materials such as sugar, milk and cereals. Commodity markets and processing depend on integrated supply chains, involving both farmers and processors operating in both EU27 and the UK. 

A Free Trade area 

CAOBISCO calls on EU negotiators to maintain free trade between the UK and EU27 in the future, preserving trade from any tariff and non-tariff barriers. The Free Trade Agreement must uphold long-term growth for the sector, investment, stability and the same standards of hygiene, safety and quality in order to ensure the continued competitiveness of our sector in the EU27 and the UK. 

CAOBISCO says the Free Trade Agreement between the EU27 and the UK must also ensure tariff- and quota-free trade for its products and agricultural ingredients (sugar, dairy, cereals, cocoa, dried fruits and nuts), in order to continue to operate in Europe.