‘Urgent action needed’ on flour tariffs to avoid bread ‘price spike’

The government is being called on to take “urgent action” to avoid tariffs on flour that would see bread prices spike for consumers.

Fianna Fáil senator Malcolm Byrne said that bread prices would increase by around 9% if tariffs were placed on flour.

The tariffs are part of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, and can be avoided with a derogation. Byrne called for this derogation to be secured for flour.

Tariffs on flour will be very difficult for bakeries but a jump in bread prices will hit consumers hard and feed into general inflation.

“We need to ensure that Ireland gets a derogation on flour, as we import over 80% of the product,” he argued.

Byrne was speaking at the Seanad Committee on Brexit, which recently heard from Food Drink Ireland, the Ibec body that represents the secondary food processing and drink processing industries.

Under Rules of Origin requirements in the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement, tariffs must be applied to imported flour unless a derogation is agreed for Ireland.

The senator argued that the threat of flour tariffs and bread price increases would need to be addressed in the short term before Ireland can produce sufficient amounts of flour domestically.

“In the long term, there may now be a greater market for us to industrially mill flour in Ireland but we must avoid the immediate threat to bread prices by avoiding the imposition of flour tariffs,” he stressed.