Appearing today before the Seanad Special Select Committee on Brexit, Food Drink Ireland (FDI) the Ibec group representing the food and drink sector, said that it welcomed the political agreement on a Withdrawal Deal as it provides the basis for avoiding a damaging no-deal cliff edge.
However, FDI Director Paul Kelly said that the future trading relationship as currently envisaged in the revised Political Declaration would be sub-optimal to current arrangements, would not be frictionless and would impact negatively on food and drink exports, production output and employment. He highlighted the risk of regulatory divergence as the main factor that would affect exports as industry today benefits from common EU regulation on food safety standards, food inspection requirements and common labelling requirements.
The group outlined that a comprehensive and frictionless future trading relationship, with regulatory convergence, not divergence, is needed to support the industry moving forward. A transition period of sufficient duration would also be required by business.