Supply chain issues

The news that UK supermarket Marks & Spencer is shutting 11 of its French stores run in conjunction with its French partner SFH, makes me think. Recently, Switzerland and the EU have been looking at their comprehensive institutional framework agreement, and those talks haven’t been going well either. We can probably blame both events on Brexit, but I also think this: this is not doing favours for countries, companies and products on either side.

In the latter, Pekka Pesonen, secretary general of European food producers and co-operatives association Copa-Cogeca, said the stakes were high but, “We do not believe that this political situation will develop to a full-scale trade dispute. In dairy, both parties have too much to lose and therefore, we remain optimistic.” I hope he is right. It seems to be lately that both European Union and country negotiators will cut their noses off to spite their faces.

It does seem the UK is seeing some sense, but this is probably just due to be in a hard place. It has delaying introducing post-Brexit checks on food and farming imports to England, Scotland and Wales again. The government is blaming Covid disruption and pressure on global supply chains, but the lack of lorry drivers domestically no doubt also has a bearing.

One could look at this original idea, to go through with Brexit during a pandemic no matter what, as perhaps not the most sensible thing to do, but there you have it. The EU border controls have also been a bit… petty, I think. Again, short-term thinking is leveraged against long-term partnerships. In the meantime, consumers on both sides suffer.

Back here in the UK, we have a more pressing problem. At my local German-owned discount supermarket, the ice cream section is looking rather bare. Truthfully, we have a serious Gelatelli mint with crunchy chocolate coating lolly addiction in the house and there have been no boxes for the past week or two. Perhaps there can be an airlift if the frozen treats are supplied from the Continent?

I take comfort in the fact that Müller yogurts are made domestically, but again, the drivers. An ongoing pandemic without treats (I have my Wookey Hole truckle, thankfully) is not anything to be endured.

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