Cornwall has long since been recognised for the quality of its unique produce, from the fields of fresh vegetables to the protected pasty. This year, HMRC’s figures show an 8.7% increase in food and drink exports from south west food and drink manufacturers and Businesses in Cornwall are looking outside the UK to make sales. Below are some steps from Cornwall Chamber of Commerce on how businesses can prepare for Brexit.

Brexit effect already happening

Cornwall Chamber of Commerce processes the export documentation for many manufacturers in the region, exporting to some far-flung places. This year, we have processed the most documents for sending shellfish and seafood out to UAE, Ukraine and Vietnam, with no EU countries showing up in the top ten destinations. For the second year running, China has made a significant impact on exports in Cornwall and sits within the top ten countries. This suggests that Brexit is already having an impact on trade in Cornwall.

Post EU Air Freight

Currently many of the exporters send their shellfish and other goods across to EU countries using ship freight, including the Brittany Ferries that run from Plymouth. In a post-Brexit UK, this will no longer be possible, meaning countries need to think now about the impacts of Brexit and prepare. It’s a similar story for producers of dairy.

What does this mean for food and drink business in Cornwall?

The impacts can already be seen, and evidence suggests that food producers are targeting markets outside of the EU, where trade agreements are in place. There are several more stages that Cornwall’s traders will need to complete in order to export to the EU27. Additional documentation will be necessary, which means Cornwall Chamber of Commerce will be working with even more businesses to ensure their documentation is correct and enable a smooth process.

What steps can businesses take to prepare?

Following the lead of the companies we are processing export documentation for, food and drink businesses in Cornwall should be researching new territories. Cornwall Chamber of Commerce receives regular updates from the government regarding overseas trade.

We also run the Export for Growth programme which has some bursaries available for food and drink companies to get help in advertising overseas. Take advantage of this and find out what support we can offer by contacting Laura Barnes on 01209 240403 or

Businesses can download the British Chambers of Commerce’s Brexit Checklist from our site, which is a guide to Brexit preparedness.