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Alo Duffy, ICOS Board Director and Chair of the Brexit Task Force of COPA-COGECA, addressed representatives of the European Commission, including Michel Barnier, the EU Chief Negotiator of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement in a meeting of the Copa Cogeca Praesidia on 19th February.

During his key note address, Alo Duffy raised the significant concerns of the Irish dairy industry in relation to the likely trade disruption facing exports to the UK when new safety and sanitary controls will apply from April. Chief among the issues of concern is the lack of clarity surrounding pre notification requirements for obtaining export health certificates and the likelihood of insufficient infrastructure capacity and veterinary personnel needed to manage the trade volumes.

ICOS has called on the European Commission to step up engagement with the UK and seek to use all possible flexibilities to clarify, simplify and streamline these procedures.

Duffy also highlighted the difficult and disadvantageous situation applying to Irish products produced on an all-Ireland basis. These products are now largely excluded from EU free trade agreements with third countries and from EU market support schemes, due to their inclusion of Northern Irish inputs and components.

ICOS called on the Commission to recognise these products as having EU Origin Status, given the unique positioning of Northern Ireland, being within the EU Single Market and applying the EU’s customs code.

Mr Barnier, committed to convey these issues to colleagues and agreed to raise them within the continued discussions on the implementation of EU-UK agreements.

Alison Graham  – European Affairs Executive