Agri-food trade prospects: Potatoes

Friday, 29 March 2019

Our latest Horizon report looks at how the potato sector could be affected by Brexit, both in the event of a withdrawal agreement and a no deal scenario.

Seed Exports

While export tariffs on seed could be fairly low (2% Egypt and 2.5% for Morocco), there could be additional phytosanitary controls which could not only make it more difficult to export, but could also increase costs for business through making the certification process longer.

There could be opportunities on the domestic market, for example if there was investment in processing facilities in England, Scottish seed growers could grow processing varieties for farmers south of the border. However, the investment needed to compete with countries like the Netherlands and Belgium would be considerable.

Currently the UK’s main potato export is seed potatoes, however the volume exported has been falling since 2014, largely due to lower shipments to Egypt. This could be partly due to Egypt’s efforts to become more self-sufficient in seed production.

Processed products

Crisps in particularly have been a recent UK success story, with 2017 exports above the five year average. The EU is the main destination for crisp exports, accounting for an average of 87% of all exports between 2013 and 2017, with Ireland receiving over half of the shipments.

Frozen potato products

The UK imports over 500 kt of frozen potato products on average annually, 99% of which come from the EU, we are also a net importer of fresh/chilled potatoes, again largely from the EU (76%) with Israel the main non-EU source.

Effects of tariffs on future trade:

• For seed export, potentially 2% for Egypt and 2.5% for Morocco.
• Imports of fresh/chilled potatoes into the EU could result in a 11.5% tariff.
• For crisp imports, a 14.1% tariff could be applied in the EU.
• Frozen potato product imports could face tariffs from 14.4-17.6%.

Download the full report

This story was taken from our Seed Export newsletter, for more information please contact Margaret Skinner -