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Independent.ie

Monday 24 July 2017

Agri-food industry 'clutching at straws' on Brexit

The Irish agri-food industry is extremely exposed to the impact of Brexit, as 40pc of the country’s agri-food exports are destined for the UK market. Stock photo: PA
The Irish agri-food industry is extremely exposed to the impact of Brexit, as 40pc of the country’s agri-food exports are destined for the UK market. Stock photo: PA
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

The Irish agri-food industry is 'clutching at straws' talking about opportunities from Brexit, IFA president Joe Healy has said.

The IFA has outlined its policy paper on Brexit, and the organisation states that no other member state or sector is as exposed to the impacts of the UK leaving the EU as the Irish agri-food sector.

Mr Healy said that the implications of a hard Brexit are stark, with the Irish meat sector facing a €1.5bn fall in exports, and dairy exports falling by over €600m.

Threat

"Brexit presents the biggest threat in our lifetime and no other sector is as exposed to Brexit as the agri-food sector," he said.

IFA chief economist Rowena Dwyer said Ireland is already feeling the impact of Brexit.

The Irish agri-food industry is extremely exposed to the impact of Brexit, as 40pc of the country's agri-food exports are destined for the UK market.

The land border with Northern Ireland means there is also a huge amount of cross-border co-operation on food processing and trade flows.


The industry must face high tariff protection that applies to major agricultural products.

The IFA said that Irish agriculture must stand at the forefront of the Government's and the EU's negotiating position.

"With 22 million farmers and 40 million related jobs, there is a wider strategic objective here to maximise the future value of the EU farming and food sector," Mr Healy said.

Incomes

The IFA said the key priorities for the farming and the food sector include the maintenance of the closest possible trading relationship between the UK and EU, while preserving the value of the UK market.

A strong CAP budget following the UK's departure, which is critical for farm incomes, farm output and economic activity in rural Ireland, is also a top priority.

The report stresses that if the UK leaves the single market and customs union, there must be a Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between the EU and the UK.

This should include tariff-free trade for agricultural products and food; the maintenance of equivalent standards on food safety, animal health, welfare and the environment; and application of the Common External Tariff for imports to both the EU and UK.

Irish Independent





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