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Alison Graham, European Affair Executive

UK Global Tariff Plan (Announced Today) + No Brexit Deal = Multimillion Bill for Irish Dairy

ICOS Warns of Brexit Bill of upwards on €287 million for Irish Dairy if No Trade Agreement is Reached between the EU and UK

Reacting to the announcement made this afternoon by the UK government, on their post-Brexit tariff regime, ICOS warns of the need to ensure a trade agreement is reached between the EU and UK before the year’s end, or Irish dairy exports would be levied with tariffs amounting to more than €287 million a year.

The UK Trade Secretary, Liz Truss announced the new UK Global tariff plan today and which will be applied on all imports following their exit from the EU Customs Unions and Single Market at the end of the year. If the EU and UK fail to reach a deal on their post-Brexit relationship, Irish exports will equally be subject to these new tariffs, which would not only impose a significant cost on agri-food businesses but also severely hamper our competitiveness and position in the UK market.  

Under the UK government’s incoming tariff plan, announced today, a duty of £139 (€155)/100kg would be applied on imports of cheddar cheese, while £158 (€177)/100kg would be applied to butter imports. These tariffs are significantly higher than those planned for under the UK’s no-deal preparations.

The UK remains a top market for Irish dairy products, with over 138,000 tonnes of cheese and 42,000 tonnes of butter exported to the UK in 2019. Without a deal between the EU and UK, next year these exports alone would incur a tariff bill of upwards of €287 million.

ICOS EU Affairs Executive, Alison Graham, said:

“The Irish dairy sector has taken hit after hit this year, with COVID-19 creating additional new barriers to international trade and imposing significantly higher costs on exporters, with the implications to be felt for months, if not years to come.

“On top of this, additional tariffs of 25% being applied on our dairy exports to the US, with a cost of more than €50 million for the dairy sector. Combined, these have already had a disturbing impact on the stability of the dairy sector and have meant substantial price drops for farmers whose produce is the building block of the entire industry.

“Irish dairy co-operatives and farmers simply cannot take another hit. Despite and indeed because of, the new economic and social challenges brought about by COVID-19, reaching a trade agreement with the UK, must remain a top EU and national priority and quick solutions must be found to break the current impasse in talks. The announcement today is an unwelcome reminder of the urgency of the discussions and the importance of avoiding and distraction or complacency around this issue.”