Brexit trade deal means ‘there is no reason for beef prices to remain in the doldrums’

The Brexit trade deal means “there is no reason for beef prices to remain in the doldrums”.

It was announced this afternoon (Thursday, December 24) that the UK and EU have reached a Brexit trade deal after overnight negotiations.

Also Read: Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU announced

Pat McCormack, president of Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA), says he cognisant that the “devil is in the detail” of the deal.

He has welcomed the successful negotiation of a post-Brexit trade agreement and said that the deal has averted a “potential disaster” for Ireland’s agri-food sector and the wider rural economy that depends on that sector. 

He noted that with over 50% of Irish beef and 30% of dairy exports going to British markets that “we have sold into for centuries”, the imposition of tariffs and quotas would have been hugely damaging – “and we can now look forward to 2021 with greater optimism in the knowledge that a huge threat has been removed”.

“There will be challenges ahead, but we now [have] a workable platform from which to address any issues that may arise.” 

‘No reason for beef prices to remain in the doldrums’

The president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) Edmund Phelan has also said that the successful conclusion of a Brexit trade deal was a “huge relief to the farming community” and “that it now meant there is no reason for beef prices to remain in the doldrums”.

“At last, common sense has prevailed – but it has been a very stressful period for all in the farming sector,” he said.

There is no escaping the fact that the beef sector, in particular, has suffered huge losses due to market volatility and exchange rate movements.

“It will be essential now for Ireland to make the case for a substantial piece of the EU Brexit €5 billion fund.”

The ICSA is now calling on beef professors to “immediately increase beef price in line with the price being paid to British farmers”.

‘Best deal possible after four years of tough negotiations’

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said that today’s news “finally brings clarity and certainty for businesses and citizens”. 

“The deal is particularly welcome for businesses in Ireland and is a reprieve from the unrelenting challenges they have faced in dealing with Covid-19. It leaves us in a better place in the EU and the UK, to plan our recovery,” he said.

It will come as a relief to our farmers, industry and exporters. There will be no tariffs and no quotas. 

“Hopefully the deal can be ratified by the European Parliament by New Year, but Brexit will never be ‘done’. There will need to be future agreements and disputes that arise that will have to be resolved.

“A free trade agreement avoids the significant harm that would arise from WTO [World Trade Organization] trade terms, but there will still be significant change.

“Deal or no deal, businesses will have to manage customs arrangements and SPS [sanitary and phytosanitary controls] checks from January 1 and there will still be implications for supply chains and product certification.”

‘Undoubtedly be real disappointment in relation to fisheries’

Minister Varadkar also noted that the text of the new agreement runs to 2,000 pages, and that businesses “will not have to worry about costly tariffs and quotas on goods”.

“This is vitally important for the agri-food sector in particular, which would otherwise have faced very significant additional costs and barriers in trading with the UK.”

He added that there will “undoubtedly be real disappointment in relation to fisheries, but it was a very significant achievement for the union to deliver the level of protection in the agreement relative to the UK demands”.