The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) has said that the Withdrawal Agreement, which will be voted on next week in the House of Commons, represents the best possible approach to Brexit for the drinks industry.
The ABFI addressed the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine yesterday on the potential impact of Brexit on the agri-food sector.
Deal Or Tariffs
The aggregate value of trade in drinks products between the UK and Ireland in 2017 was €364m, with over 23,000 truck movements by the drinks industry taking place across the Irish border annually, and it told the committee that a ‘No Deal’ Brexit would be seriously damaging to the Irish and UK economies.
It said that a ‘No Deal’ could result in a lack of continuity in legal protection for Irish cross-border Geographic Indications’ in the UK, as well as immediate tariffs on cream, barley, malt, glass bottles, apples, finished cider, as well as other supply chain inputs.
This is in addition to the well-documented introduction of border checks and delays, and up-front VAT payments.
The drinks industry representative called on the Irish government to ensure that the new Future Growth loan scheme announced in Budget 2019 is open to Irish distilleries and spirits producers, where European Investment Bank rules excluded them from previous loan schemes.
Speaking at the Joint Oireachtas Committee, Patricia Callan, director of ABFI said that “Brexit comes with a number of potential risks and opportunities for the Irish drinks industry”.
“All things considered, we believe that the adoption of the Withdrawal Agreement […] represents the surest way to avoid negative impacts, such as regulatory divergence and additional costs. Despite the risks ahead, it’s important to note that the industry is confident that we will manage through Brexit and will do everything possible to limit the impact on our consumers,” she said.
“We would like to commend the Government and state agencies, for the proactive and comprehensive programme of information and supports being made available to companies to plan and prepare for the impact of Brexit and look forward to working with them further to prepare and plan.”
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.