The Impact of Brexit on the Agriculture and Fisheries Sectors
The UK and Ireland are each other’s largest export markets for agricultural produce. The establishment of borders and tariffs between the UK (including Northern Ireland) and Ireland, which is a real possibility following Brexit, would have a major impact on the Irish agricultural sector.
On the UK side, UK farmers and fishermen will no longer have access to EU subsidies through the Common Agricultural Policy or the Common Fisheries Policy. This could give rise to demands for national support and post-Brexit there would be nothing to prevent the UK government from subsidising these sectors through State aid. This could have a negative impact on the competitiveness of Irish agri-products in the UK, with consequent distortions to trade.
In the medium to long term, Brexit may remove the obligations on the UK to comply with the significant regulatory regime around the agri-sector, including pesticide regulation, environmental regulation and consumer regulation, such as packaging and food labelling. Again, this could impact on the competitiveness of Irish agri-products in the UK and distort trade.
Irish agri-businesses will have to look at the potential impact of Brexit on their businesses, addressing possible risks and identifying opportunities on both the input (sourcing of ingredients, services and facilities) and output (sales and routes to market).
If you have any questions on the impact of Brexit on the Agriculture and Fisheries Sectors, please contact Wendy Hederman, Head of our Food, Agriculture and Beverage Law Team or our Managing Partner, Declan Black.