The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, recently welcomed the constructive input of stakeholders and agencies in assessing the challenges ahead for the Irish agri-food and fisheries sector following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
Speaking after the first meeting of the new Consultative Committee that he established to ensure an effective exchange of information as the negotiations unfold, the Minister recalled the considerable work that has been done to date and emphasised the value of ongoing engagement with the sector:
“I believe that the most effective way to deal with the many challenges that we in the Irish agri-food and fisheries sector will face following the result of the UK referendum is to work together as closely as we can to identify issues of importance to us, and to agree on how these issues might best be addressed. My Department has already been working with the sector in considering the areas in which the greatest risks may arise, and the Consultative Committee will help us to take that work forward by facilitating regular discussion and analysis as the negotiations evolve.”
The Minister commented in particular on the need for a calm and measured approach, noting that the future EU-UK relationship will ultimately depend on the outcome of the exit negotiations and that these negotiations are unlikely to formally get under way for some time.
In the meantime, the key issue to be dealt with is the exchange rate volatility caused by the uncertain environment, and the Minister welcomed the opportunity that today’s meeting afforded to agencies such as Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland to update stakeholders on the steps they are taking to assist traders in managing that volatility and in reducing their exposure to the UK market.
The Committee also discussed other challenges that are likely to emerge from the exit process, including in relation to trade and tariff issues, controls and certification requirements, regulatory standards and the EU budget.
Concluding, the Minister stressed the ongoing nature of the Committee’s work: “While the UK deliberates on its next steps, we must use the time at our disposal to best effect so that we can position ourselves to present the best case and achieve the best outcome for the Irish agri-food and fisheries sector from these negotiations. Today marked a very useful and positive starting point and I look forward to the Consultative Committee playing a central role in this process over the coming period.”