Hard Brexit would have 'large impact' on transport routes
Brexit will impact dramatically on Ireland in relation to its transport routes, a new report has found.
The document, presented to the European Parliament, singles out Ireland as a country that will be severely impacted by the decision by Britain to leave the European Union (EU).
The report "considers that trade between Ireland and the EU is subject to additional friction, in particular because of the disruption caused by transport routes passing through the UK".
Ireland is mentioned 106 times in the report, which was prepared for the European Parliament's Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development. The singling out of Ireland has alarmed both Irish officials in Brussels, but also Government ministers. It found that Brexit would cost the agri-food sector in Ireland a staggering €5.5bn in lost exports. But its focus on transport routes has caused particular concern.
It states categorically that Irish exports face greater costs.
"A decrease in trade with the UK would imply higher transport costs for Ireland, with cargoes not fully loaded in both directions, for instance," it says.
The report stresses that the "impact of Brexit on Irish trade and the Irish economy will likely be very large" and puts the drop in agri-food exports at $6.5bn (€5.5bn) by 2030. That could happen in a scenario where World Trade Organisation rules apply in the absence of a Brexit deal on trade.
The report states that Brexit could dent economic growth to a greater extent in Ireland than the UK, potentially knocking almost 10pc off GDP here in a worst-case scenario.
It claims Irish GDP could decline by 3.4pc and "might even reach 9.4pc if Brexit affects Ireland's access to the EU27 market". "Expected impacts on Ireland are concerning: Irish GDP loss exceeds the British one," the report noted.
"Indeed, Irish agri-food sectors, and more generally the economy as a whole, are highly dependent on trade with the UK, especially on intermediate consumptions' imports.
"As a consequence, Ireland deserves particular attention when considering redistributive policies to mitigate Brexit's negative impacts."
The report said that the greater drop in Irish GDP as a result of Brexit was explained by a drop in Irish agri-food exports to the UK and to the rest of the world, including EU27 countries as Irish production relies heavily on imported intermediates from the UK.
"The situation of Ireland deserves particular attention.
"Its trade with the UK plays an important role, especially imports: 27pc of Ireland's European imports are from the UK, and represent 46pc of total Irish agri-food imports (compared to 4pc for other EU countries).
"Disruptions caused by Brexit may have particularly negative impacts on this country because of the large integration of UK products in Ireland's exports."