‘Entire EU beef market will feel the effects of Brexit’

The entire EU beef market could be adversely affected by Brexit, if Irish beef exports to the UK are displaced, the IFA’s Chief Economist, Rowena Dwyer, said.

Speaking at the recent launch of the IFA’s policy paper on Brexit, Dwyer said that other EU member states could be indirectly impacted by the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

There are concerns that the EU market will not be able to cope with the additional supply of beef, if Irish exports to the UK are displaced, she said.

Our exports to the UK represent approximately 10% of the intra-EU beef trade.

“That’s a significant amount of beef. If it is displaced from the UK market it will have to look for another market. What market would that be?

“Currently our beef exports are fairly straightforward. 50% goes to the UK, 45% goes to the EU and 5% goes outside the EU,” she said.

The possible displacement of such a large amount of produce could place EU beef prices under pressure, she added.

The EU market is a very mature market. The capacity to absorb significant amounts of additional beef would be rather limited.

“It would be important for others to be aware of the fact, that while they may not be directly affected by the UK market being disturbed, they very well could be indirectly affected by the displacement of our produce from the UK market,” she said.

Cost and availability of animal health remedies

The cost of animal health remedies in Ireland could significantly rise as a result of Brexit, the IFA Chief Economist added.

Plant protection products could also be affected in a similar manner, she said.

Dwyer indicated that Ireland benefits from the mutual recognition of both plant protection products and animal health remedies, which are registered in the UK.

This significantly reduces the costs and increases the availability of these products on the Irish market, she said.

The exit of the UK from the EU presents a significant threat in this area, both from an increased cost and reduced availability perspective, she added.