*This is a French language learner article. The words in bold are translated into French at the bottom of the article.
As the financial consequences of a no-deal Brexit to both the UK and the EU continue to unravel, the latest industry comments to raise alarm bells have come from French agricultural union head Christiane Lambert.
“The wines and spirits sectors would be the most badly hit since we currently have a positive balance of €1.3 billion in terms of exports to the UK,” Lambert, president of the FNSEA (France’s Federation of Agricultural Holders' Unions), told France Info on Sunday.
“The second victim would be dairy products, which we currently have a UK exports turnover of €100 million for.
Lambert argues that despite ongoing demand for French food from Britain, increased trade costs and potential holdups at customs in the event of a no-deal Brexit would lead French food manufacturers to reconsider their trade options, whether they wanted to or not.
“(Even though) the British are very fond of our camembert and brie, there are a lot of these exported dairy products that would be sent back to Europe and thus drive down the products’ prices.”
Lambert’s comments come as British Prime Minister Theresa May is scheduled to present her plan B of the Brexit agreement on Monday, after her initial deal was overwhelmingly rejected in the House of Commons last week.
According to the French industry head, who represents 20,000 local agricultural unions across France, the apple industry would also be very affected, as France is the largest supplier of apples to the UK.
The vegetable and cereals sector would also feel the pinch, Lambert says.
“We are concerned that these market losses will result in a food price collapse.
“Then there’s also the issue of standards, if the UK no longer applies the same standards, there may be market distortions in terms of competition.
Lambert also argues that with the UK becoming a third party outside of EU jurisdiction, they may “decide on trade tariffs and restrict imports”.
French vocal to learn
un solde positif: positive (account) balance
un syndicat: a trade union
effondrement de prix: price collapse
le chiffre d'affaires: turnover
un/une fournisseur/se: supplier
être friand/e: to be fond of/ to be partial to
les spiritueux: spirits (drinks high in alcohol content)
restreindre: to restrict
la douane: customs
les droits de douane: tariffs
la concurrence: competition