Since the end of the transition period, exports from the Falkland Islands to the EU have been subject to customs duties averaging 42% for meat and 6 to 18% for exports of fish products.
Brexit has “brought problems” for the Falkland Islands fishing industry, a former Labor defense minister has warned.
Derek Twigg, chairman of the Falkland Islands All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), said there was “a great deal of concern” about the impact of the UK’s exit from the EU on fisheries exports from the Falkland Islands, such as squid.
Speaking to the AP News Agency as parliamentarians mark 40 years of the Falklands War, Halton MP said: ‘Brexit has caused problems for the islands in terms of fishing, because their fishing…is a very big part of their economy, especially squid, especially the type of squid they have that is exported to Europe.
“Work is ongoing with the Falklands government and countries like Spain and the EU to try to resolve these issues as it is such a big exporter.”
His comments were echoed by the Falkland Islands Government’s representative to the UK and Europe, Richard Hyslop, who said: “As far as Brexit is concerned, as things stand, there is no obvious advantage for the Falkland Islands. There are, however, a number of challenges.
Mr Hyslop said the EU was the main market for Falkland Islands fish exports, with exports accounting for ‘over 50% of our GDP’, and ‘was an important market for meat exports’ .
However, since the end of the transition period in January 2021, exports from the Falkland Islands to the EU have been subject to tariffs, he added, with an average of 42% for meat and between 6 % and 18% for exports of fishery products.
The ‘very high tariff’ on meat exports has ’caused the loss of the market as it is simply no longer viable to export to the EU’ while exports of fish products to the EU are ‘ now less profitable.
Mr Hyslop said the Falkland Islands Government was “exploring a wide range of options” looking at “how we would get these tariffs removed”.
He said: “It’s not an easy task, but we remain convinced that at some point we will succeed.
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“We have already made limited progress in temporarily removing tariffs on a small percentage of our exports.”
Mr Twigg, who previously visited the Falkland Islands in 2007 in his role as front bench, said he hoped a group of MPs from all parties would travel to the Falklands in November to mark the 40th anniversary.
He said: “The main aim of the group is to continue, as always, to support the Falkland Islands and to really emphasize that the support is cross-party.”
The UK Government and the UK Parliament “are 100 per cent behind the people of the Falkland Islands”, Mr Twigg said, adding: “Our position is very clear, that self-determination, sovereignty is absolutely paramount and that in ultimately, the Falkland Islands determine their future and no one else.
He said relations with the Argentine government “continue to be tense”, adding: “We have to be always alert and that is why it is important that the government’s commitment to the Falkland Islands, especially in terms of general support, but also military support Having service personnel and equipment based in the Falklands is very important.