Brexit: Creed concerned about the re-emergence of a ‘no-deal’ narrative

The re-emergence of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit narrative in some media outlets is concerning the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed.

The minister revealed his concerns as he spoke at a Brexit Seminar organised by the British Irish Chamber of Commerce in Dublin this morning (Wednesday, September 5).

During his address, he said: “We all need to be clear about one thing; a ‘no deal’ is the worst possible deal for the agri-food sector in the UK, and in Ireland.

It would almost certainly result in the imposition of significant tariffs on food exports in both directions, in addition to non-tariff barriers such as customs and health inspection formalities.

“This would be a damaging combination of additional cost that would impact on the competitiveness of food businesses in both jurisdictions,” he said.

However, the minister noted that – despite some “mixed signals” – he is encouraged by some of the developments over the last week.

“The fact that formal negotiations between the EU and the UK have recently resumed in Brussels and that both sets of negotiators are committed to intensifying talks from now until October has to be welcomed.

I am confident that progress on a withdrawal agreement can be made, but the time available is not unlimited.

Minister Creed acknowledged that before any terms for a future relationship can be agreed, the conditions for withdrawal – including the text necessary to give legal expression to last December’s agreement that there would be no border on the island of Ireland and that the Good Friday Agreement would be protected – need to be finalised and agreed upon.

“On the backstop, our position remains clear. While our preference is for an overall EU-UK relationship that would resolve all issues, it remains essential that a backstop is agreed which provides certainty that a hard border will be avoided in any circumstances.

“It, therefore, must be in place unless and until another solution is found,” the minister said.