Rabobank: Brexit could discourage foreign investment

The bank warns the UK not to expect food prices to remain low outside the EU.

By voting for Brexit, the UK is likely to discourage investment in its food and agriculture industries from foreign investors and that the country could even face less food security, according to a Rabobank paper.

“Some companies might even cancel investments or relocate UK assets to a location within the European Union,” said the paper.

The bank expects rising trade, as well as food and food production technology costs, although lack of certainty over the specific trade rules and regulations that will define Britain’s relationship with Europe make precise cost-counts impossible.

“Let’s hope for Britons [consumer prices] won’t head towards Norwegian or Swiss levels!” it said.

The paper warns that the UK’s history at the helm of a global empire supporting its cheap food policy no longer exists, and that leaving Europe “means no longer enjoying the benefits of having access to an abundantly supplied food market with opportunities to sell to a 500 million consumer market”.

It says that today the world market is not such a reliable low-cost sourcing partner and that as the cost of food from abroad rises, so too will food production costs at home:

“If different stamps of approval are necessary in the UK for technology and food, technology providers may choose not to apply for UK registration or certification for products much later than they otherwise would have,” reads the paper, saying this will make access to agricultural and food technology more difficult as well as expensive.

Recent investors in the UK food industry include Bain Capital, which exited from its investment in British food company Brakes earlier this year in a $3.1 billion deal.