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Spanish veg shortage 'an anomaly not a trend,' says minister

Spanish agriculture minister, Luis Planas told the Financial Times today that Spain’s fruit and vegetable exports to the UK have suffered “no fundamental disruption” from Brexit.

Recent shortages of salad staples in British supermarkets were partly due to weather on southern Spain, he said. He added, “supply is guaranteed.”

The shortage, Planas said, was “an anomaly not a trend.” Brexit has introduced a raft of paperwork and compliance requirements that come at a cost, but Spain is keen to work within the changing trade environment with the UK.

Spain is the UK’s biggest single supplier of fresh vegetables with roughly €1bn of Spanish produce imported every year since 2020, and Spain representing about 30 per cent of total EU production of fruit and vegetables.

As Brexit-style trading began in early 2021, the value of shipments has increased, but the volume has dropped. This was partly due to suppliers cutting the rate of shipments to curtain the administrative burden associated with exporting the goods.

The Netherlands is the UK’s second-biggest vegetables supplier, but Planas noted that since Brexit the UK has signed trade deals with Australia, New Zealand and Morocco, which is now the UK’s third-biggest supplier.

He said Spain was “very keen to see the good relationship (with the UK) preserved.”


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