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The Impact of Brexit on the UK Agri-Food Chain - A Case of the Empty Supermarket Shelf Syndrome?

Luis González Vaqué

Brexit was the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) at 23:00 GMT on 31 January 2020. The UK is the only member state to have left the EU, after 47 years of having been a part of the union — the EU and its predecessor the European Communities (EC), which included the European Economic Community — since 1 January 1973. Following Brexit, EU law and the Court of Justice of the European Union no longer have primacy over British laws, except in select areas in relation to Northern Ireland. The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 retains relevant EU law as domestic law, which the UK can now amend or repeal. This article is dedicated to a first analysis of the impact of Brexit on the food supply chain, taking into account the precariousness of the agreement on the status of Northern Ireland, the workers’ emigration and the future of British regulations, probably more competitive than that the old EU legislation.

Former Adviser in the European Commission’s DG for Internal Market. The author thanks Jakob Langado for his help in translating the article, as well as for his comments on the first draft.


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