Irish beef exports to the UK fall 20% in July

The volume of Irish beef sold into the UK marketplace declined by 20% in July, recent figures from the AHDB (the body for British beef and lamb) show.

The UK is largest buyer of Irish beef and in 2015 it accounted for 52% of all Irish beef exports valued at more than €1 billion euro.

According to the AHDB, the weaker Sterling, which has been seen since the Brexit vote was passed in June, has made beef sourced from Ireland and other euro countries more expensive to UK buyers.

And due to the weaker Sterling and more of a focus on domestically produced beef, the total volume of beef imported into the UK declined by 17% or 3,994t in July 2016 compared to the year earlier.

Along with a fall in the volume of beef imported from Ireland, the AHDB also shows that shipments from the Netherlands and Poland declined by 40% and 30% respectively during the month of July.

The AHDB also reports that the lower volume of beef imported into the UK has helped to strengthen the domestic demand for beef, while the value and volume of beef exported from the UK increased by 10% and 1% respectively during July 2016 on last year’s levels.

Source: AHDB
Source: AHDB

Calls for Government action on Brexit issues

Speaking at last week’s Teagasc Winter Finishing Seminar, Paul Nolan, the Dawn Meats’ Group Development Manager, said the Irish Government needs to study the nuts and bolts of any Brexit divorce as the implications could be huge.

“I think government can’t be faulted for trying.

“But they will have to try a lot harder because every possible option needs to open for us in what will be a very difficult time as we work our way through the Brexit situation,” he said.

He said that the Governments approach should be three pronged, by first looking at markets that haven’t been opened to Irish beef.

Secondly, he said, the various terms and conditions on previously opened markets need to be lifted to free the potential of the trade.

And, finally, he said that a lot more work needs to be done on the Brexit situation to ensure that Ireland remains at the centre of the stage when it comes to negotiating an exit agreement in Brussels.

“We are nearly 100 days into the vote, so that is a reasonable honeymoon period, and from now on the nuts and bolts are going to have to be studied very seriously.

The implications are huge to our most important market. It has traditionally been our nearest and dearest market

“I think we would be a lot better off if the UK was working off European rules, all be it outside of it, than bilateral agreements that we have seen in the past in other parts of the world,” he said.