16 Jul 2018
UK MUST ABANDON ITS INDEPENDENT TRADE POLICY IN FOOD TO GET A BREXIT DEAL THAT WORKSBrexit, IFA Policy
IFA President Joe Healy has warned that the British government’s proposals for a UK-EU free trade area while maintaining its own independent trade policy are “seriously flawed and totally unacceptable to Irish farmers”.
Joe Healy said the White Paper confirmed IFA’s grave concerns that the British government could introduce a cheap food policy within the proposed free trade area. This would not only destroy its domestic UK market, but also drag down the EU market with it.
“Those who see the White Paper as representing a solution for frictionless trade, north-south and east-west, are seriously mistaken. I recognise that the UK’s commitments to ongoing harmonisation with EU rules represent a major step forward towards avoiding regulatory checks. However, this doesn’t go far enough. The UK must also abandon its ambition to pursue an independent trade policy in agri-food. Otherwise the proposed UK-EU free trade area would result in the destruction of the CAP and the European model of family farming.”
Joe Healy called on the Irish Government and Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan to confront the UK on its proposals. “The EU negotiators led by Michel Barnier must be up-front and rule out the UK having an independent trade policy in the area of agri-food at this week’s EU-UK Brexit negotiations.”
The IFA President stressed: “The UK White Paper is explicit that outside the CAP, the UK would have ‘an ability to change tariffs and quotas in the future’ on agri-food products. This would enable the UK to negotiate its own trade deals with South America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand at prices that would undercut European beef, dairy, pigmeat, lamb and poultry producers. That would destroy the livelihoods of tens of thousands of Irish family farmers and millions across Europe.”
“This is the kind of double-think by the UK that will not work for the EU farming and food sector. No new customs arrangement can achieve frictionless borders unless the UK commits to the EU’s common external tariff and quotas on food imports.”
Joe Healy concluded “IFA’s policy position is very clear: no border on the island of Ireland, no border in the Irish Sea and no scope for the UK to pursue a cheap food policy.”