Proposed tariffs a massive threat to Irish meat exports

March 13, 2019 Meat Industry Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the sector, has said that the UK Government’s proposed approach on tariffs and import quotas in a No-Deal Hard Brexit scenario presents a massive threat to Irish meat exports to the UK, particularly for beef. 

Senior Director of Meat Industry Ireland, Cormac Healy said: “The fact that the political disarray is driving us in the direction of this cliff-edge Brexit is a real concern for our export business. A long extension is now needed to avoid a ‘No-Deal’ exit. 

“In a Hard Brexit scenario, Irish beef exports to the UK would face tariffs that will undermine the viability of trade and is also being presented with a very restrictive import quota regime. The UK proposals suggest tariffs ranging from approx. €1,500 per tonne on manufacturing beef up to over €2,500 per tonne on steak exports. This level of tariff would severely undermine trade. 

“On top of this, the UK Government has proposed zero tariff import quotas, that on the one hand fall massively short of existing beef import volumes entering the UK market and on the other hand open these quotas to all global suppliers. Very quickly we can expect to see erosion of our position in the UK market in both volume and value terms, due to stiff competition from lower priced beef from other regions of the world.

“We are just 16 days out from the real prospect of a No-Deal Brexit. Processors are processing animals today, facing the real risk that meat from these animals may not be able to enter to UK market or if it does, the market return being seriously devalued due to tariffs.”