Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry has warned the UK government that its proposed tariff scheme under a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would be 'devastating' for the region, according to reports.
It claimed that it would turn trade between the country and the EU into a one-way street which will ultimately cripple business.
The group, which represents the main food organisations in Northern Ireland, said that it could now see 'in black and white' what a ‘no deal’ looks like.
‘It would deal a fatal blow to indigenous food production in the UK and in particular Northern Ireland. It must not be contemplated,’ a statement from the group read.
‘These proposals could give the European Union unfettered access to Northern Ireland, and therefore Great Britain, whereas Northern Ireland producers will not be able to freely export to the EU.’
The group said that this would in turn ‘crush the country’s farming base and destroy family businesses within weeks'.
It also suggested that the increased volume of goods coming from the Republic to reach Great Britain would result in a major gridlock on its roads and ports.
‘These proposals make Northern Ireland uniquely exposed. We are now going from a position where we have all the benefits of EU membership to being faced with the worst of all worlds.
‘It would be a hugely backward step for Northern Ireland, not just economically, but socially and politically.’
While it said that tariffs could be ‘switched on and off within a few months’, the impact on farming and food manufacturing would not recover.
‘In one fell swoop, the UK food industry could be destroyed, taking generations to re-build and costing billions in investment and Government support in the process.’
© 2019 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.