Thursday, January 04, 2018

Irish beef exporters remained concerned about Brexit

Irish beef producers have not been reassured by Theresa May's pledge that cross-border trade would continue uninterrupted after Brexit. The promise of regulatory alignment was essentially a fudge that got round an awkward issue and allowed talks to proceed to the next stage. It was kept vague for political reasons.

Ireland's beef exports to the UK are worth €4.4bn a year. The largest groups have operations in the Irish Republic, Northern Ireland and mainland Britain.

Beef exporters remain concerned that the UK might yet seek to enforce different food safety and animal health rules to the EU. They fear delays when exporting to the UK; disruption to meat shipments to continental Europe via Britain; and the prospect of having to compete with cheaper imports from the likes of Brazil.

There is a concern that without full regulatory alignment, the UK could take imports from the US, Brazil and Australia - countries with different food safety and animal welfare standards to the UK.

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