At the recent Hillenraad100 event, IFTF and the Royal FloraHolland Trade Fair, both the Dutch and international flower industries demonstrated their vitality and innovative capacity once again.
Unfortunately, because of a silly stumble, I couldn’t take part. Some serious bruising of the muscles between my thigh and ischium made it pretty much impossible to sit. It’s when you realise you’ve quickly got to change all your normal habits and routines to reduce the pain threshold. Luckily, the human body recovers fairly fast, enabling a return to the old ways without causing any pain.
While I was dealing with my injury, the papers were reporting how the position of May as British prime minster was getting weaker and weaker. The Brexit negotiations in Brussels seem to be going absolutely nowhere. Many people have started to wonder whether Great Britain could still reverse their decision to leave the EU, which was based purely on emotion and supported by only a small majority by the way.
The consequences of Brexit are becoming clearer every day. The flower trade between the EU and Great Britain will be severely disrupted. And that doesn’t just apply to the EU and Great Britain, but also to Great Britain and countries, such as Kenya and Colombia. Exports to Ireland, which generally go through Great Britain, are going to be hindered as well. The infrastructure for customs and inspections, routines and procedures at the borders will all have to be reinvented and built up from scratch. A painful operation, which is expected to lead to great delays and drive up the costs of logistics.
Now that it’s becoming clearer that Brexit is going to be a huge step back compared to free trade, many people have started to wonder whether the pain threshold isn’t exceeded far too much. Wouldn’t a decision based on rational thinking lead to a completely different referendum outcome?
Politicians are convinced that Brexit can’t be reversed. The question is more, whether it’s going to be a hard or a soft Brexit. Businesses are advised to prepare for a fairly hard variant. And that advice is urgent and compulsory. If it’s ignored, they run the risk of missing the boat, with all its consequences.
The trade sector is generally very dynamic, flexible and innovative and adjusts easily to changing circumstances. But in this particular case, there are a few aspects which are outside the scope of direct, individual influence. Especially when it comes to border controls, public infrastructure, tariffs, inspections and so on.
That’s why Union Fleurs has decided to make Brexit top priority. When it’s time to renegotiate trade agreements between Great Britain and the EU, but also with third countries, it will be crucial that the interests of the floricultural industry are being put forward in a professional manner. We’ll be working closely together with a number of different national organisations such as VGB, Kenya Flower Council, Asocolflores, because a lot of the non-European trade still goes through the Netherlands.
No one is interested in the predicted daily, 8-km long traffic jams at the crossing from the EU to Great Britain and vice versa.
Herman de Boon,
president Union Fleurs