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ICOS Brexit Chair addresses International Dairy Forum

Alo Duffy, ICOS Board member and chair of the Copa Cogeca Brexit Task Force, participated in a high-level debate, together with Polish Minister of Agriculture Jan Kryzsztof Ardanowski on “Brexit and its consequences for the European dairy”, at the 17th International Dairy Forum in Serock, Poland on 5th September.

Addressing an audience of EU and global dairy industry leaders, Duffy said the European Union and Irish Government must double down on contingency planning to protect the Irish and European agri-food sector from the resulting impacts as, unless current circumstances change very significantly, Britain is now hurtling towards a chaotic exit from the EU which will have repercussions across the entirety of the European agri-food sector. 

In his speech he outlined a number of pragmatic, temporary measures which should be introduced to ensure the continuation of EU-UK trade with as minimum disruption as possible. These include:

  • Temporary facilities and procedures should be implemented to allow goods to be cleared at the premises of the operator and therefore avoid the potential for long delays at ports. 
  • Arrangements were made under the Withdrawal Agreement to allow goods already placed on the market – before the date of the UK’s departure – to continue to be sold (under the current rules and procedures) until all the goods are exhausted. A similar understanding needs to be agreed in the event of a no-deal. 
  • The EU and UK must agree on mutual recognition of food safety standards, in order to avoid the re-introduction of veterinary and phytosanitary certificates which would be a significant barrier for agri-food trade, in particular for our all-Ireland agricultural economy and our livestock exports. 
  • In relation to labelling and to facilitate a smooth transition to label changes, the EU Single Market needs to adopt temporary measures allowing for a grace period of at least 18 months, so that operators can build the required changes into their current label update cycle.
  • Additionally, the European Commission has made a commitment to make market management tools, including Public Intervention and Private Storage Aid available to help address the negative impact of a no-deal Brexit. We know the impact will be immediate and sharp and therefore we will need these tools to be readily available.

Alison Graham, European Affairs Executive