Wednesday, 2 November 2016Food and Drink Industry Ireland (FDII), today set out the serious concerns of the agri-food sector at the All-Island Civic Dialogue on Brexit at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin. Speaking at the event FDII Director Paul Kelly said: "Brexit is the biggest and most immediate challenge facing the sector. While the outcome of exit negotiations will have a far reaching impact on our trading relationship with the UK, the collapse in sterling is already costing jobs."
FDII estimates 7,500 job losses if sterling stays at 90p to the euro for a prolonged period. Mr Kelly called on Government to put in place mitigating measures including:
- an enterprise stabilisation fund
- funding to help maintain existing UK markets and support further market diversification
- an intense and ongoing focus on cost competitiveness
"The Irish agri-food sector is uniquely vulnerable due to the deeply entwined business and trade relations with the UK. The two way flow trade flow between Ireland and the UK, particularly North and South, involves raw materials, ingredients and finished products, and it takes place internally within companies as well as between businesses. The priority for the food sector is to maintain full unfettered access to the UK market. UK membership of the EU single market is much more preferable than a bi-lateral trade agreement."