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Irish Farmers Call For Free Access To UK Post-Brexit

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-news.com, Brussels

30 March 2017


Groups representing the Irish food and drink and dairy industries have called for free and unfettered post-Brexit access to the UK market for Ireland.

The groups, which form part of business association Ibec, made the call in response to the UK's triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

Paul Kelly, Director of Food Drink Ireland, said: "The agri-food sector exports EUR4.1bn (USD4.4bn) of food and drink to the UK and accounts for 43,000 Irish jobs. Agri-food is the Irish sector most exposed to trade disruption, and the Irish Government must do all within its control to ensure minimum impact to the free flow of goods."

According to Kelly, discussions on the future EU-UK relationship must ensure free and unfettered access to the UK market for Irish business, and take account of the special case of the all-island economy, to ensure that supply chains across the Republic and Northern Ireland can continue to operate with free movement of goods and services.

Kelly also argued that there must be transitional arrangements of sufficient length for businesses to plan and prepare for any new free trade agreement between the EU and UK.

The Irish Dairy Industries Association has also called for the prioritization of these points during negotiations. In addition, it warned against the danger of a "no deal" scenario and a default to World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.

Commenting on the likely impact of a return to WTO rules for his industry, the Association's Director, Conor Mulvihill, said: "WTO tariffs are set at a punitive EUR1,671 a tonne for cheddar cheese. This would amount to an additional EUR130m minimum a year in costs for Irish exporting companies."

"A WTO tariff cliff edge would be disastrous for the industry, as the UK represents the only viable market for Irish cheddar."

TAGS: business | free trade agreement (FTA) | Ireland | export duty | tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | trade treaty | United Kingdom | food | import duty | trade association | trade | European Union (EU) | services | Europe

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