‘Agri-food firms must ensure they are ready’: Minister makes Brexit appeal
Companies in the agri-food and fisheries sectors have been urged by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue to urgently complete their preparations for Brexit.
He warned that firms should be ready for the new trading arrangements that will pertain between the EU and UK from January 1, 2021.
Speaking following his first attendance at the Brexit Stakeholder Consultative Committee since his appointment, Minister McConalogue said:
“I urge all operators who import from or export to Britain to engage with the government’s recently published Brexit Readiness Action Plan and take the necessary steps to ensure that they are ready in good time for the changes that are coming in less than four months’ time.
Regardless of the outcome of the future relationship negotiations, things will change once the UK becomes a third country.
The minister highlighted that there will be customs and regulatory requirements on animals, plants and products of animal and plant origin from January 1. He added that businesses “need to fully understand and comply with these requirements in order to continue trading effectively” with Britain.
“Everyone should take steps now in order to be ready, and that starts with registering with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine if you import or export animals, plants or products of animal or plant origin from or to Britain.”
Minister McConalogue acknowledged that stakeholders’ attention has understandably been focused on minimising and mitigating the impacts of Covid-19 – but emphasised that urgent action is also now required in order to avoid supply chain and other impacts that could otherwise arise at the end of the transition period.
Stakeholders were again encouraged to ask their members who trade with Britain to register with the department so that they will receive relevant information directly, and to register with Revenue to obtain an EORI number.
In relation to support for the agriculture sector, as well as highlighting the existing wide range of supports for the sector, the minister added:
“In July the European Council agreed to establish a special Brexit Adjustment Reserve of €5 billion to counter adverse consequences in those member states and sectors that are worst affected by Brexit.
This is very welcome. I will work to ensure that the agri-food sector in Ireland gets an adequate allocation from that funding.
Minister of State at the department, Martin Heydon, also attended the meeting. Speaking afterwards, Minister Heydon said:
“I will continue and intensify the department’s work to open and develop new markets, a role that has taken on an added urgency with Brexit and the potential for tariffs and quotas on trade between the EU and the UK if there is no agreement on the future relationship by the year end.”