Businesses ‘will find new markets’ to offset Brexit impact

  • Lusa
  • 15 March 2019

The secretary of state for agriculture said there shall be no major issue in relation to trading fruits, vegetables and wines, as the UK is the EU member state with the highest trade deficit in foods.

Portugal’s private sector has reacted to situations with an impact on trade similar to that of Brexit by seeking out new foreign markets, but there will inevitably be negative effects, the country’s secretary of state for agriculture and food has said.

Speaking in a committee hearing in parliament on Thursday, Luís Medeiros Vieira cited the European Union’s trade spat with Russia and subsequent embargo as an example of past upheavals that have not prevented exports from growing.

In the event of difficulties associated with the agreement – or lack of it – on the UK’s departure from the EU, the bloc’s economic agents will again find ways of coping, he said.

While acknowledging that there would be an overall impact on trade Vieira said that, where fruits, vegetables and wines were concerned, “there will be no major problems” given that the UK is the current EU member state with the highest trade deficit in food, so it is unlikely to stop or greatly scale back its imports of produce from Portugal.

On Wednesday, the UK parliament voted to reject a no-deal Brexit. On Thursday it approved a motion calling for the UK’s departure to be postponed until at least 30 June.