Dairy Industry Ireland (DII), the Ibec group that represents dairy processors, has said that the UK government ‘needs to appreciate the severe economic, social and environmental damage on the island of Ireland from the possible application of agrifood tariffs’.
The Ibec group made the call after the UK’s Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, announced that the UK will apply tariffs to food imports to protect British farmers in a no-deal scenario.
“Milk exports south of the border are of vital importance to the economic viability of the dairy industry in Northern Ireland and there simply is not the processing capacity in Northern Ireland or in fact the rest of the UK to handle this milk,” Conor Mulvihill, Director of DII, said.
“With less than 900 hours remaining to the proposed Brexit day, it is vital a resolution is reached and a strong backstop protecting dairy trade and regulations on the island of Ireland is maintained.”
According to studies from DII, the tariff threat on a single product of cheddar alone could be about €155 million.
It estimated a threat of about €400 million on overall dairy exports to the UK.
“We are engaging closely with our colleagues in Food Drink Ireland, to push for a tariff stabilisation fund and state aid flexibilities to help agri-food exporters and farmers offset the impact of UK tariffs in the event of a ‘No-deal’ Brexit,” Mulvihill continued.
“We are also working across government to positively look for solutions that will deliver for Irish dairy in both a no deal and a deal scenario.
“The stakes are very high with our economic modelling showing both prices rises and severe trade losses in crash out scenarios.”
© 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.