British Irish Chamber of Commerce Agriculture and Food Committee launch policy paper on impact of Brexit

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce’s Agriculture and Food Committee today published its submission to the Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine on ‘The Impact of the UK Referendum on Membership of the European Union on the Irish Agriculture, Food & Fisheries Sectors’. The Paper outlines the likely impact of WTO tariffs on Irish – UK trade in the agri-food sector as well as addressing potential trade costs associated with non-tariff barriers being implemented through customs checks, rules of origin checks and diverging regulations.

The paper highlights the significant level of integration within the sector between Ireland and Northern Ireland where many sub sectors operate on a de facto all island market with multiple aspects of the production line spread between the two jurisdictions.

The paper specifies that any restriction on current trade practices between Ireland and the UK will be particularly negative for the Irish beef sector as well as for cheddar cheese exports and butter exports.

The paper’s recommendations include:

•    To introduce a specific strategy to address the fallout from Brexit for integrated all-island agri-food businesses.

•    Reduce employer PRSI to reduce costs for agri-food employers.

•    Expand Bord Bia’s Marketing Intensification Programme designed to support Irish agri-food exports to the UK.

•    The Irish Government on behalf of the agri-food sector should seek direct EU support as a

consequence of the impact of the referendum result on the sector.

Speaking ahead of the publication of the paper John McGrane, Director General of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, said:

“The Chamber fully supports this work carried out by our Agriculture and Food Committee as it clearly highlights the importance of the UK as the leading destination for Irish agri-food exports. It is of mutual benefit to the UK and the EU and of upmost importance to the Irish agri-food sector that the EU and the UK agree an all-encompassing Free Trade Agreement that includes agriculture. The Irish Government and Minister Creed must continue to press the Irish case in Brussels that a bad deal for the UK could have detrimental consequences for Ireland”.

Maree Gallagher, Chair of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce Agriculture and Food Committee added:

“There has not been and will not be an Irish sector more affected by the outcome of the UK referendum to exit the EU than the agri-food sector. We welcome the Government’s initial response through Budget 2017, but more supports are needed for the sector. This is an integrated all-island sector that operates efficiently and seamlessly through the invisible border. Therefore, an all-island sector requires an all-island response that is why we are specifically are calling for an all-island strategy for the agri-food sector to address the consequences of Brexit”.

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