As the British House of Commons prepares to vote on the European Union (EU) withdrawal agreement negotiated by the UK Prime Minister Theresa May, the Irish beef sector has been warning that a no-deal Brexit would cause chaos and dramatically undermine Ireland’s beef exports.
‘Ireland exports 90% of its beef and half of all beef exports go to the UK market. A no-deal Brexit would lead to WTO (World Trade Organisation) tariffs and most probably a very negative movement in exchange rates, so that Irish beef exports to the UK would suddenly be economically unsustainable’, Eddie Punch, general secretary of the Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) stated.
Punch further explained that there was insufficient time to find new international markets at viable prices to replace Ireland’s UK trade and added: ‘ The only solution to avoiding a catastrophe in the short term is to get agreement on some form of emergency intervention buying.’
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) has warned that Irish beef prices have already been falling-now at €0.25 cents/kg below the same period last year. ‘The consensus is that we need an agreement on the May package or alternatively that Article 50 is extended in order to avoid immediate chaos’, Punch concluded.