“Agri-Food Businesses must PREPARE NOW”
The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., today urged agri-food businesses to immediately take the practical steps necessary to prepare for the changes that Brexit will bring from 1 January 2021.
While outlining the Brexit components of his Department’s 2021 Budget, the Minister took the opportunity to remind importers and exporters of agri-food goods from/to the UK that they must act now.
The Minister said, “With or without a deal change is coming on 1 January 2021. We are no longer talking about missed deadlines for a No-deal Brexit. Regardless of the outcome of the EU-UK negotiations, the UK will be outside the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union. That means new import controls and export certification requirements will come into effect in respect of animals, plants, and products of animal and plant origin moving to, from or through Great Britain. Businesses must prepare for these. And the first step is to register as soon as possible with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.”
Recognising the vulnerability of the agri-food and fisheries sectors in the event that no EU-UK agreement is reached in the coming weeks, the Minister welcomed the Government’s budgetary provision for an overall contingency fund of €3.4 billion to address the twin challenges of Brexit and Covid-19. He stated, “This contingency fund will be made available to assist our most vulnerable sectors. In addition, we know that the EU will establish a €5 billion Brexit Adjustment Reserve for the Member States and sectors worst affected by Brexit. Clearly, Ireland and its agri-food and fisheries sectors are particularly exposed, and I look forward to seeing the Commission’s proposals in relation to how this fund will be administered.”
Referring specifically to the challenge of Brexit for the Department in terms of import controls and export certification, the Minister said, “We have to ensure that imports from third countries do not pose a threat to the integrity of the Single market. From 1 January 2021, the UK will be one of those third countries, and new requirements will arise in relation to imports and exports from, to and through Great Britain. We have been putting the necessary arrangements in place for some time, and I am very pleased to have secured an additional €39 million in respect of staffing- and infrastructure-related expenditure. This will ensure that my Department will be in a position to fulfil its expanded control obligations at ports and airports, and continue to facilitate trade.”
In relation to exports, the Minister noted the significant success that has been achieved in recent years in growing export markets for Irish agri-food. Nevertheless, the UK remains by far our most important export market, and efforts will continue to maintain our position in the future. The Minister added, “I therefore welcome the additional funding of €4 million for Bord Bia, which will bring its total grant to €52.25 million, and will allow Bord Bia to continue its market support efforts in the UK, European and wider international markets.”
Concluding the Minister said that, “Time is very short now and with less than 80 days left until the 1st of January now is the time to get Brexit ready. Therefore I am urging the entire industry to continue their Brexit preparations now. If you haven’t started yet, then you must commence preparations today.
Anyone moving goods from, to or through Great Britain should register with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine as an importer or exporter, and arrange registration on the TRACEs system as appropriate, by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also familiarise yourselves with the requirements that will come into effect from January, through www.gov.ie.”