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Irish Drinks Industry Meets Barnier Taskforce On Brexit Priorities

Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) has recently met with the EU Commission's Taskforce Article 50 in Brussels to discuss the ongoing Brexit negotiations.

'This is the ABFI's second meeting with the Barnier Taskforce in five weeks and follows the publication of the ABFI paper on 'Brexit and the Irish drinks industry'.
Today's meeting focussed on the potential implications of post-Brexit custom changes on the all-island Irish drinks industry," the representative group for drinks manufacturers and suppliers on the island of Ireland said in a statement.

"The Irish drinks industry is a highly integrated all-island sector, important to both the Irish and Northern Irish economies," said Patricia Callan, director of ABFI.

"This is recognised by the EU Commission and the Barnier Taskforce, as evidenced by their recent active engagement with us.”

Callan highlighted that with negotiations on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement nearing a hopeful resolution, the meeting provided ABFI with an opportunity to restate the importance of avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland, both now and at any stage in the future.

"The Irish drinks industry operates on an all-island basis with seamless cross-border supply chains,” she added.

Annual Irish Border Truck Movements

In total the Irish drinks industry carries-out over 23,000 truck movements across the Irish border every year, over 5,000 of which are alcohol tanker-movements, the ABFI said.

"Based on an assessment of international comparison, we fear that any reintroduction of checks at Irish border points could add an hour to journey times and an additional cost of €100 per truck movement; not to mention severely threatening the peace and stability brought about by the Good Friday Agreement.” Callan said.

"We support the Irish Government's efforts to seek to avoid a hard border, both now and in the future.”

Today's meeting also discussed the need to avoid new tariffs being introduced between the EU and UK and the potential impact of new tariffs on Irish cross-border supply chain movements.

Potential No-deal Brexit Impact 

According to the ABFI a no-deal Brexit could result in a range of new tariffs on cross-border supply chains, including: A 9% tariff on cream from Irish dairy producers used for cream liqueur production in Northern Ireland; Tariffs of up to €93 per tonne on Irish barley and €131 per tonne on Irish malt being distilled by Northern Ireland distilleries; An EU external tariff of 5% on 130 million glass bottles imported into Ireland from the UK; A 7.2% tariff on apples grown in Northern Ireland used in cider production south of the border.

Patricia Callan stated: "Tariffs on our cross-border supply chains would add significant costs to Irish and Northern Irish whiskey distilleries and breweries, damaging cost-competitiveness and threatening sales and jobs.”

© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Donna Ahern. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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