Speaking after the UK triggered Article 50, Food Drink Ireland (FDI), the Ibec group that represents the food and drink sector, today called for agri-food to be a top priority for the Irish Government in the forthcoming negotiations.
Paul Kelly, Director of Food Drink Ireland, said “The agri-food sector exports €4.1bn of food and drink to the UK and accounts for 43,000 Irish jobs. Agri-food is the Irish sector most exposed to trade disruption, and the Irish Government must do all within its control to ensure minimum impact to the free flow of goods. Discussions on the future EU-UK relationship must be commenced early in the negotiating process and must ensure:
- Free and unfettered access to the UK market for Irish business.
- An agreement that takes account of the special case of the all-island economy, ensuring that the highly integrated supply chains can continue to operate with free movement of goods and services,
- Transitional arrangements, of sufficient length, for businesses to plan and prepare for any new free trade agreement,
- Customs procedures are dealt with as part of the first phase of Article 50 negotiations.
“Ibec and FDI will continue advising our members to examine how Brexit might impact their business, and we are providing contingency planning support”, concluded Mr Kelly.