BORD Bia, the Irish food promotion board responsible for supporting a record €13 billion in food, drink and horticulture global exports in 2019, has welcomed the free trade agreement reached between the EU and UK to commence when the Brexit transition period expires on January 1, but signals caution on the impact of new competitive forces in a post-Brexit Britain.
Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia, said: “We welcome the clarity that this post-Brexit free trade deal brings for Ireland’s food, drink and horticulture sectors but considerable uncertainty still lies ahead for our largest indigenous sector.
“With €4.5 billion in food exports destined for the UK last year, this market is crucial for our beef, dairy, prepared consumer foods and some horticulture producers.
“Four years into the Brexit process, from January 1, Ireland will face an entirely new set of competitive forces in a post-Brexit Britain as customs compliance procedures are introduced and the market further expands to global competition.
“January will see the introduction of customs declarations, health certificates and other processes that will be new to many exporters and will add additional costs and complexities to decades old supply chains.
“A continuing lack of detail on some elements of Great Britain’s Border Operating Model will also bring uncertainty from January.
“Compounded by contracting global exports due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and ongoing global economic disruption, the market diversification efforts underway by Bord Bia’s network of global offices comes into sharp focus.
“Our food and drink producers will need considerable support to chart their way through the challenges that lie ahead both domestically and internationally.”