Highlighting the severe impact on exports and jobs in the food and drink sector
Food and drink is Ireland’s largest indigenous sector with 230,000 linked jobs has seen exports grow by over 50% since 2009 to reach €10.8 billion in 2015. The sector’s continuing ambition is reflected in the €19 billion export target in Food Wise 2025. The UK vote to leave the EU is the largest and most immediate challenge facing the Irish agri-food sector. The UK is our largest trading partner for food and drink. 41% of food and drink exports go to the UK (€4.4bn) and Ireland is the UK’s largest supplier of food and drink.
The outcome of exit negotiations between the EU and UK will potentially have huge market access issues with associated trade and regulatory implications. The sector already faces one major challenge – a large and rapid weakening of sterling with a significant further weakening of the pound against the euro in prospect. This differs from previous currency shifts being structural rather than cyclical.
These reports outlines the severe impact on exports and jobs that this currency shift will have on a UK focused export sector like food and drink. The current change in currency value is structural not cyclical and there have also been many fundamental changes to the economic and business environment domestically and in the UK which make this very different to previous sterling weaknesses.