Reacting to the ESRI report on a potential British exit from the European Union, IFA President Eddie Downey said the conclusions point to some startling implications for our country, and especially our agriculture and food sector.
Eddie Downey said, “The report suggests that bilateral trade flows could reduce by as much as 20% and in the case of our agri-food sector, by even more. Britain is the most important market for our agri exports and takes in 40% of Irish agricultural output. Based on our overall agri export performance of €10.5bn in 2014, a 20% loss in trade as a result of Britain exiting would be almost €1bn”.
Mr Downey said the potential implications cannot be ignored and he said the Government would have to take a proactive role in doing whatever it can to ensure the strong trade links between both countries are fully maintained.
The IFA President said the close relationship that has built up between the agri-food sector here and buyers in Britain has proven to be very beneficial. “Consumers in Britain have access to a reliable supply of sustainable food produce that is sourced from their nearest neighbour and the Irish agri-food sector has access to a market with a growing population. IFA liaises on an ongoing basis with our counterparts in the NFU to discuss issues of mutual concern. This partnership approach remains strong and we will continue to work closely with farmer representatives and food buyers in Britain to maintain the solid bond that exists”.