“Agri-Food Companies Must Get Ready for Brexit” – Minister McConalogue Delivers Urgent Message to Stakeholders

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The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D., today called on companies in the agri-food and fisheries sectors to urgently complete their preparations for the new trading arrangements that will pertain between the EU and UK from 1 January 2021.

Speaking following his first attendance at the Brexit Stakeholder Consultative Committee since his appointment, Minister McConalogue said, “I urge all operators who import from or export to Great Britain to engage with the Government’s recently published Brexit Readiness Action Plan, and take the necessary steps to ensure that they are ready in good time for the changes that are coming in less than four months’ time.”

The Minister continued, “Regardless of the outcome of the future relationship negotiations, things will change once the UK becomes a third country. There will be customs and regulatory requirements on animals, plants, and products of animal and plant origin from 1 January, and businesses need to fully understand and comply with these requirements in order to continue trading effectively with Great Britain. Everyone should take steps now in order to be ready, and that starts with registering with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine if you import or export animals, plants, or products of animal or plant origin from or to Great Britain.”

Minister McConalogue acknowledged that stakeholders’ attention has understandably been focused on minimising and mitigating the impacts of Covid-19, but emphasised that urgent action is also now required in order to avoid supply chain and other impacts that could otherwise arise at the end of the transition period.

The Department of Foreign Affairs gave a detailed update on the state of play of EU-UK negotiations and Department of Agriculture officials updated stakeholders in relation to the wide range of Brexit readiness work that has been completed and on further ongoing work. Stakeholders were again encouraged to ask their members who trade with Great Britain to register with the Department so that they will receive relevant information directly, and to register with Revenue to obtain an EORI number.

In relation to support for the agriculture sector, as well as highlighting the existing wide range of supports for the sector the Minister added, “In July the European Council agreed to establish a special Brexit Adjustment Reserve of €5 billion to counter adverse consequences in those Member States and sectors that are worst affected by Brexit. This is very welcome. I will work to ensure that the agri-food sector in Ireland gets an adequate allocation from that funding.”

Minister McConalogue was joined for the meeting by his colleague, Minister of State Martin Heydon TD. Speaking after the meeting Minister Heydon said: “I will continue and intensify the Department’s work to open and develop new markets, a role that has taken on an added urgency with Brexit and the potential for tariffs and quotas on trade between the EU and the UK if there is no Agreement on the Future Relationship by the year end.”

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