Brexit impasse could see British market left defenceless against a flood of cheap imports - report
Concerns have been raised the UK Government may struggle to pass legislation to protect the British market against a flood of cheap imports in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The Daily Telegraph has reported that incoming ministers in Boris Johnson’s administration are being told that unless they can pass specific new laws through a hostile House of Commons, the UK will have no legal basis on which to levy protective tariffs in the event of a no deal Brexit.
Farm organisations in the UK have warned that failure to pass the necessary legislation would leave UK farmers “defenceless” against waves of cheap global food imports.
The UK Government is preparing to table a series of “statutory instruments” to enable tariffs to be levied.
However, it is not clear if MPs will be prepared to back the measures and potentially facilitate a no-deal Brexit.
Earlier this year as part of its no-deal Brexit contingency planning the UK outlined that tariffs would apply to 13pc of goods going to the UK, including key products from Ireland's agri-food sector - beef, lamb, pork, poultry and some dairy products.
For Ireland's most vulnerable sector, beef, the UK proposals suggest tariffs ranging from approximately €1,500/t on manufacturing beef (mince) up to over €2,500/t on steak exports.
This would represent an approximate 45pc increase in the price of Irish mince and a 20-25pc increase in the price of Irish steaks for consumers in the UK.
The proposed tariff of €221/t on cheddar will see Irish cheese having to shoulder an annual tariff in the region of €200m. The €22m proposed tariff on Irish butter could also increase significantly, as a range of other costs inflate this figure.
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