Ireland’s largest indigenous sector is facing an unprecedented challenge following the UK vote to leave the EU. The agri-food sector has already been hit hard by the depreciation of sterling, resulting in a reduction in the value of trade to the UK by €570 million in 2016. This equates to 5,700 job losses. The continued depreciation of sterling is a major concern, now that the UK government has triggered Article 50 of the EU Treaties and formally sets out its approach to Brexit negotiations.

A further weakening of Sterling will give rise to greater trade losses, enterprise and job losses for companies most exposed to UK markets and downward pressure on farm incomes. The future value of UK good exports, valued at €4.5 bn in 2017, will be determined by exchange rate losses in the short-term and ultimately, post Brexit, by the nature of the trading relationship that will exist between the UK and EU, In a worst case ‘Hard Brexit’ scenario, ESRI have estimated a disastrous outcome for trade with the UK for many food sectors including 80% reductions in primary and processed meat exports, a 68% reduction in dairy and over 70% for many other food preparations.

It is critical that Government take action now and introduce measures to assist the sector, which is of ‘strategic importance to the Irish economy’, in overcoming these challenges at national level while also making a strong case at EU level that Ireland will require support that recognises where Brexit represents a serious disturbance to the Irish economy.

Food Drink Ireland's main Brexit Challenges Report and Key Brexit Priorities summary are both attached.
logo - Twitter