Proposed UK tariffs that replicate the EU’s tariff schedule would “entirely decimate” Ireland’s trade with the UK, according to Michael Wallace, Professor of agriculture and food economics at UCD.
As reported by Agriland, Wallace was speaking at the Agricultural Science Association (ASA) annual conference, where he said that the UK’s departure will result in additional costs for Agri-business.
“There’s the challenge of what might happen in a no-deal scenario. The UK has said that it will replicate the EU’s tariff schedule and these tariffs are incredibly high and many of them – for our key products – are in the range of 40% to 60%,” he said.
Protecting Trade Position
Wallace believes protecting Ireland’s position as the preferred supplier to the UK will be “a tremendous challenge” as the UK will look to third-party countries like Australia and New Zealand for a deal.
“And obviously the potential for trade deals with the US and some of the South American countries that would be quite challenging from the point of view of competition in beef,” he added.
In addition to the countries listed about, it was widely reported during the summer that China, one of the largest economies in the world, was open to striking a deal with the UK post-Brexit, after already striking a five-year trade deal.
“I think we will face very significant challenges there if those types of deals emerge. The question is how close does the UK ultimately stay aligned with the EU structures and particularly around regulatory alignment,” Wallace added.
“I think some of the Brexiteers are very concerned that the UK will not have that type of freedom if it aligns too closely to the EU’s rules to basically strike these types of trade deals.”
One thing Wallace did highlight was the consumer trust element, where Ireland has the advantage of offering “above and beyond” what other suppliers can offer.
“But I think the strength of the existing relationships that Ireland has with partners in the UK – relationships are absolutely key in trade – gives us a certain incumbent advantage,” he concluded.
He highlighted that In the beef sector, 71% of the UK’s imports of beef come from Ireland. Reports from other groups show that the majority of Irish food and drink companies believe they will still have opportunities to increase sales in the UK after Brexit.
© 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.