The Food & Drink Federation is “encouraged” by Government discussions at a recent summit which outlined a ‘soft Brexit’.

Responding to the Brexit Chequers Summit, Ian Wright CBE, FDF chief executive, said: “Every day UK food and drink firms feed and nourish the nation, providing an unrivalled level of choice, at all price points. The ability to import essential ingredients and raw materials, and to export our finished products to the EU, our biggest market, has been a crucial factor in driving our success as the UK’s largest manufacturing sector.”

Wright explained that FDF has been clear with Government in the run up to the referendum, and in the many months since, that the food industry’s “fragile and highly integrated” supply chains rely on seamless trade and common regulatory standards with our closest neighbours.

“Nowhere is this more the case to and from the Republic of Ireland where ingredients and products cross borders multiple times a day, north-south and east-west,” he added.

“The Cabinet agreement struck yesterday is therefore very welcome. We are greatly encouraged that Government has grasped the consequences for trade in agri-food: senior Ministers have acknowledged the role FDF and our members’ advocacy played in shaping this proposal.

“While there is more to do to finalise details, we are acutely aware that the negotiation clock continues to count down. We urge both the UK and EU27 to work swiftly to find common ground in a short space of time. FDF will continue to work constructively with UK Government and with our European partners to get the best possible deal for our businesses and for our shoppers.”