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IFA President Tim Cullinan said reports that progress had been made on food and live animal exports going through the UK post-Brexit was encouraging.

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At this morning’s webinar on Brexit titled “Our Farmers Need to Trade”, IFA President Tim Cullinan questioned the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol and asked how effective were checks planned on products crossing the Irish sea?

He said, “The UK wants zero tariffs, zero quotas and frictionless trade with the EU, but on the other hand, it turns around and is negotiating a trade deal with the US. Will it uphold standards in its agreement with the European Union?”

The webinar was organised by the Irish, French, German, Danish, Dutch, and UK farmers’ associations. It was told by Martin Merrild, President of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council that securing a level playing field was a priority for EU farmers.

Attendees including European media, international trade organisations, Embassies, European farming associations and UK Government representatives heard from Rabobank Senior Analyst Harry Smit that in the case of a Hard Brexit, the impact of import tariffs on the export of beef into the UK market would be prohibitive.

The IFA President said that the competitiveness of Irish beef was at risk due to “the threat of imports of hormone-treated beef into the UK market”.

He fully supported the closing comments made by Minette Batters, President of the National Farmers’ Union that a no-deal would be disastrous for farmers on both sides.

Following a high-level conference between Boris Johnson, Michel Barnier and the leaders of the EU Institutions on Monday, June 15th, negotiations will intensify with the first of five rounds of talks to begin week commencing June 29th and continuing through until the week of July 27th.

IFA President Tim Cullinan has welcomed the announcement by the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Agriculture Minister Michael Creed of a €50m direct payment package for beef farmers to cover price losses incurred as a result of the collapse in the market due to COVID-19 and other factors, including Brexit.

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 IFA National Sheep Chairman Sean Dennehy said with Brexit negotiations on a knife edge and the  UK such a major player in the sheep meat sector on the EU market and also as the main import destination for New Zealand lamb, it would be madness for EU negotiators  to make any offer to New Zealand at this time in the EU/NZ trade negotiations.

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Speaking after an IFA delegation met Tanáiste Simon Coveney and Minister Helen McEntee by video conference, IFA President Tim Cullinan said “Brexit is still a massive threat to Irish farming and a no deal crash-out by the UK is a real possibility, if they do not change course”.

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