A German government official has reportedly cautioned the Foreign Office during recent meetings with Berlin‘s agriculture ministry that food suppliers may halt deliveries across the Channel if Britain crashes out of the EU on October 31.
The threat was issued after Germany expressed its frustration at the direction Brexit negotiations had been heading in recent months, according to BuzzFeed News.
Food businesses in Germany are expecting huge delays at the borders, especially at the Port of Dover where the majority of EU exports arrive into Britain.
The largest trade deficit between Britain and the EU is with Germany.
Lorries queue up at the port of Dover in Kent in March 2018. It is feared the Channel crossing could see huge delays during border checks in the event of a No Deal Brexit
German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Boris Johnson in Berlin this week to discuss Brexit
In 2016 the UK imported £75 billion in goods and services from Germany but sold only £49 billion to the country, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Germany is one of the major food exporters to Britain selling more than £635 million (€700m) of meat plus the same amount of fruit and vegetables every year.
Around 14 per cent of major food and drink imports into Britain come from Germany.
Boris Johnson flew to Berlin for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel who said the backstop could be dropped if the UK can come up with a practical alternative within the next 30 days.
She also insisted Germany is ready for a No Deal Brexit.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson talking to the media at the Elysee Palace yesterday after he met with Angela Merkel a day earlier
Earlier this month the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany, which represents companies in both countries, said Germany could be plunged into recession if Britain leaves without a deal.
It warned a ‘disorderly’ exit ‘should be avoided under all circumstances’ and would lead to thousands of job losses and cost Germany 1 per cent of its GDP.
Despite preparations by Britain and Germany, exporters reportedly feel that delays at the border and potential rises in tariffs could force food producers to abandon the UK to focus on other more accessible markets.
A spokesman for the German agriculture ministry told BuzzFeed: ‘One thing is clear for us: Citizens and governments of the EU member states don’t want a hard Brexit. But the time is getting shorter. That’s why the worries of the agricultural and forestry sector are valid. Therefore, we’ve been taking the threat of a no-deal Brexit very seriously for a very long time now. ‘
Last week it was announced that Germany’s economy shrank by 0.1 per cent in the second quarter sparking fears a recession is looming in the biggest eurozone economy.
German exports to other countries that it relies heavily on, such as China and the United States, have also suffered due to global trade disputes, meaning any disruption with the Britain could worsen the country’s economy even further.