Ardo in Ardooie (West Flanders)

Brexit deal triggers relief in Flanders’ Vegetable Valley

West Flanders Province is a major player in the fruit and veg market with many businesses big exporters to the UK including Ardo, Greenyard, D’Arta and Pasfrost.  In Vegetable Valley businesses have been following the Brexit talks with an eager eye.  The deal between the UK and the EU means they will now not face trade barriers and tariffs.

Klaas Mouton of frozen veg company Ardo is ecstatic: “We were geared up for several scenarios.  We are pleased there is now clarity and that free trade is guaranteed. We have our own plant in the UK.  Each week we have a score of lorries crossing the English Channel.  Our products, frozen fruit and veg, herbs would have faced a 14% tariff in the UK.  That would have been passed on to the UK consumer!”

Ardo employs 4,000 workers at 21 different sites at home and abroad.  In Flanders Ardo is present in Ardooie, Koolskamp and Kortemark.

Also at Vergo in Meulebeke there is joy at the deal.  Vergo supplies big UK supermarket chains like Tesco.  The UK is responsible for a quarter of the business’s turnover.  It employs 80 workers in Meulebeke, Mechelen (Antwerp) and Sint-Truiden (Limburg).  Vergo’s Dominiek Noppe was concerned the UK would levy import tariffs, but that danger has now passed, at least for the minute. 

“We were expecting the Brits to levy tariffs of 10% on average on fruit and veg.  It would make our products more expensive and could get the Brits to start to produce their own more cheaply.  No import tariffs is a gain.”

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