‘€1 billion could be knocked-off the value of Irish agri-food exports post-Brexit’

The Teagasc estimate of €800m being knocked-off the value of Irish agri-food exports post-Brexit is a conservative estimate, according to Economist Jim Power.

Speaking to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture yesterday evening, December 13, he said that in excess of €1 billion could be knocked-off the value of exports.

“This would be a serious hit to the agri-food sector. What the damage could be [to the sector] depends on the trading arrangement.

“But if it is a hard Brexit and World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules apply, well I think that the damage will be in excess of €1 billion. It’s a very difficult number [that of the damage to the value of exports] to calculate.”

Power said that there are 5,200 items in the WTO trading arrangements and there are tariffs of between 30-50% on the agri-food sector within these arrangements.

“The highest of these are on beef and dairy commodities and could be in excess of 50%. If Britain leaves without a deal, tariffs of 30-50% could apply on food exports to the UK.”

Power said that it is clear that the Brexit process is incredibly uncertain and that achieving a soft Brexit will be incredibly difficult to achieve.

He said that no one knows how Britain leaving the EU will pan out and that Brexit will be fraught with political difficulties.

Teagasc report on impact of Brexit

In April 2016, Teagasc economists released a report on Brexit that said there could be a significant impact on Irish agri-food exports.

Trevor Donnellan noted at the launch of the report that a reduction in the value of Irish agri-food exports could range between a reduction of €150m (1.5%) to €800m (7.2%) per annum.