In the context of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the President of ICMSA, John Comer, has called for the EU to immediately suspend negotiations on Mercusor, TTIP and other possible trade deals until such time as the implications of Brexit are clearly recognised and can be accommodated in any future trade deals. In addition, Mr. Comer said that all existing trade deals - including previous WTO deals - will have to be reviewed and amended to take account of the UK exit from the EU.
The ICMSA President said that the implications of Mercusor, in particular, could be extremely negative and significant for Irish farmers and it is simply inconceivable that negotiations can continue in the fog of uncertainty and confusion surrounding Brexit given the direct implications regarding possible tariff reductions, concessionary imports and sensitive product status, all of which will be directly influenced by the UK’s post exit relationship with the EU.
In relation to existing trade agreements, Mr. Comer noted that previous trade deals had contained significant concessions to certain third countries to take account of their historical trading relationship with the UK and the trade deals were based on the UK being part of the EU. He said it would be totally unacceptable that these concessions be continued following Brexit and, logically, the trade deals will have to be amended to take account of the new reality. As an example he cited New Zealand lamb and he went on to observe that Irish farmers are facing enough uncertainties following Brexit without having to compete with products on EU markets whose presence was based on concessions relating to a historic New Zealand-UK trading relationship.
He concluded by noting that the Brexit vote has thrown up an amount of hugely significant issues with implications for existing and future trade deals that will need to be clearly and fairly addressed as part of the new reality.