Meat Industry Ireland (MII), the Ibec group representing the sector, today highlighted the critical importance of maintaining business certainty during Brexit negotiations.
Cormac Healy, Director of MII said: "56% of our meat exports accounting for in excess of €2 billion annually are sold into the UK market. A positive outcome to negotiations is crucial. A hard Brexit will result in massive trade disruption and job losses whereas a sensible outcome, aimed at maintaining trading continuity, will be beneficial to both Ireland and the UK. As the starting gun is fired on the commencement of Brexit negotiations, the Irish Government must make sure that the EU-27 negotiating mandate ensures that:
-The future trading relations with the UK are high on the priority list;
-Trade negotiations must start at the earliest opportunity and run in tandem with the exit negotiations; and,
-A realistic transition period leading to a negotiated free trade agreement with the UK must be delivered to avoid damaging 'cliff-edge' scenarios and to ensure business certainty in the interim."
"Amongst our EU-27 partners, we are uniquely exposed on agri-food trade with the UK. This must be prioritised by Government.
"Ibec and MII are working with all of our members to ensure that they are adequately equipped to deal with the immediate challenges of Brexit and plan for future trading eventualities", concluded Mr Healy.