Agriculture; Food and the Marine | Brexit impact on agri-food sector
To ask the Minister for Agriculture; Food and the Marine the extent to which his Department continues to monitor the effects of Brexit Ireland’s agri-food sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Brexit has presented a range of challenges for the Irish agri-food and fisheries sectors, as it has for the broader Irish economy. While the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement maintained tariff-free trade between the EU and the UK, the fact that the UK is no longer in the EU Single Market or Customs Union creates a new trading environment for Irish food companies.
There are already many new requirements that must be fulfilled in respect of customs formalities and import controls on trade in agri-food products. However, the full impact of all of the expected changes has not yet been felt by Irish exporters, as the UK has not, to date, applied the full range of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) controls – including export certification, pre-notification, and entry through, and physical inspection at, UK Border Control Posts – to imports of EU food products.
These new controls are now due to be applied from the end of 2023. My Department continues to focus on preparing, in collaboration with the agri-food industry, for these changes, in order to ensure that we minimise any disruption they could cause to our exports to the UK. This includes significant investment in additional resources, the recruitment of additional staff, development of new and enhanced IT systems, provision of training programmes for food businesses, and implementation of new business processes in collaboration with Irish food exporters and other actors in Irish-GB supply chains.
All of these activities will be intensified in 2023 as we get more clarity from the UK about when and how their new SPS requirements for EU imports will be applied.
More broadly, my Department continues to monitor developments in Ireland-UK trade patterns since Brexit. In this regard I am pleased to note that Irish exports to UK have continued to grow despite the challenges that Brexit has presented. We cannot, however, be complacent, and I can assure the Deputy that the Government is ready to respond as appropriate to any negative impacts as a result of Brexit which may arise in 2023 and beyond.
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