Agri-food businesses urged to register with department immediately

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has today, Friday October 16, urged agri-food businesses to immediately take the practical steps necessary to prepare for the changes that Brexit will bring from January 1, 2021.

While outlining the Brexit components of his department’s 2021 budget, the minister reminded importers and exporters of agri-food goods from / to the UK, that they must act now.

The minister said: “With or without a deal, change is coming on January 1, 2021. We are no longer talking about missed deadlines for a no-deal Brexit.

Regardless of the outcome of the EU-UK negotiations, the UK will be outside the EU’s single market and customs union.

“That means new import controls and export certification requirements will come into effect in respect of animals, plants and products of animal and plant origin moving to, from or through Great Britain,” said Minister McConalogue.

The minister is urging businesses to prepare and register as soon as possible with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

He noted the vulnerability of the agri-food and fisheries sectors in the event that no EU-UK agreement is reached in the coming weeks and outlined the government’s budgetary provision for an overall contingency fund of €3.4 billion to address the twin challenges of Brexit and Covid-19.

Minister McConalogue stated: “This contingency fund will be made available to assist our most vulnerable sectors. In addition, we know that the EU will establish a €5 billion Brexit Adjustment Reserve for the member states and sectors worst affected by Brexit.

Clearly, Ireland and its agri-food and fisheries sectors are particularly exposed, and I look forward to seeing the commission’s proposals in relation to how this fund will be administered.

Referring specifically to the challenge of Brexit for the Department in terms of import controls and export certification, the minister said that Ireland has to ensure that imports from third countries do not pose a threat to the integrity of the single market.

“From January 1, 2021, the UK will be one of those third countries and new requirements will arise in relation to imports and exports from, to and through Great Britain,” said the agriculture minister.

We have been putting the necessary arrangements in place for some time, and I am very pleased to have secured an additional €39 million in respect of staffing and infrastructure-related expenditure.

“This will ensure that my department will be in a position to fulfill its expanded control obligations at ports and airports and continue to facilitate trade,” he said.

Minister McConalogue has acknowledged that the UK remains by far our most important export market and said that efforts will continue to maintain “our position in the future”.

The minister added: “I therefore welcome the additional funding of €4 million for Bord Bia, which will bring its total grant to €52.25 million, and will allow Bord Bia to continue its market support efforts in the UK, European and wider international markets.

Time is very short now and with less than 80 days left until January 1, now is the time to get Brexit ready. Therefore I am urging the entire industry to continue their Brexit preparations now.

Anyone moving goods from, to or through Great Britain should register with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as an importer or exporter, and arrange registration on the TRACEs system.