MII: UK political disarray ‘driving Irish beef towards cliff-edge’

The UK government’s proposed approach on tariffs and import quotas in a no-deal hard Brexit scenario presents a massive threat to Irish meat exports to the UK, particularly for beef, according to Meat Industry Ireland (MII).

Commenting on the matter today (Wednesday, March 13), senior director of MII Cormac Healy said: “The fact that the political disarray is driving us in the direction of this cliff-edge Brexit is a real concern for our export business.

“A long extension is now needed to avoid a ‘no-deal’ exit,” he stressed, in response to the proposed tariffs.

“In a hard Brexit scenario, Irish beef exports to the UK would now face tariffs that will undermine the viability of trade and is also being presented with a very restrictive import quota regime.

The UK proposals suggest tariffs ranging from approximately €1,500/t on manufacturing beef up to over €2,500/t on steak exports. This level of tariff would severely undermine trade.

On top of this, Healy said, the UK government has proposed zero tariff import quotas that, on the one hand, fall massively short of existing beef import volumes entering the UK market and, on the other hand, open these quotas to all global suppliers.

“Very quickly we can expect to see erosion of our position in the UK market in both volume and value terms, due to stiff competition from lower-priced beef from other regions of the world,” the MII director warned.

We are just 16 days out from the real prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

“Processors are processing animals today, facing the real risk that meat from these animals may not be able to enter the UK market or, if it does, the market return being seriously devalued due to tariffs.”