UK tariffs plan for no-deal Brexit ‘devastating’ for Irish farmers

The UK’s proposed tariff regime in the event of a no-deal Brexit would be disastrous for Irish farmers, the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has said.

The British government outlined its temporary no-deal Brexit plans on Wednesday, stating that no import tariffs would apply to goods entering Northern Ireland across the Irish border.

The region will be treated differently from the rest of the UK, where tariffs will be imposed on some EU goods if a Brexit deal fails to materialise.

Tariffs of up to 40% in some cases are planned for products being exported from the Republic to the UK.

IFA president Joe Healy said: “Our most exposed sectors, particularly beef, simply will not survive the kind of tariffs being talked about. This would have a devastating effect in the rural economy.

“We export over 50% of our beef to the UK. If this is subject to tariffs, it will be a direct hit of almost 800 million euro on the sector,” he said.

Fianna Fail agriculture spokesman Charlie McConalogue agreed with the IFA president that the UK’s new arrangements would be “disastrous” for the Irish agri-food sector.

“I sincerely hope that this is a provocative attempt to persuade MPs to vote against a no-deal scenario when they are asked over the next 24 hours in Westminster,” Mr McConalogue said.

“The EU will obviously have to respond to the plans to allow goods to travel freely between the Republic and Northern Ireland in the short term and the Irish government will have to elaborate on their own plans to respond to this plan.

“The uncertainty is causing massive anxiety with businesses both North and South and will cost jobs soon if not sorted out.”

He called on the Irish government to outline the likely impact of these new tariffs and to put a plan in place to respond.

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