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BIPA Committee publishes report on Brexit and the agri-food sector

Added 12-Jun-2018

BIPA Committee publishes report on Brexit and the agri-food sector

In a report published today, the British Irish Parliamentary Assembly’s Economic Affairs Committee says that the unique circumstances on the island of Ireland, relating to agri-food, must be respected during the Brexit negotiations.

The report, entitled The Implications of Brexit for the Agri-food Sector was adopted at the 56th BIPA plenary session, which took place over the course of the last two days in Sligo.

The Committee was inquiring into the implications of Brexit on the agri-food sectors across the BIPA member jurisdictions.

The Committee made a number of conclusions and recommendations relating to trade between the member jurisdictions; the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland; Labour; Currency; and EU funding and the Common Agricultural Policy.

Recommendations include:

• Every effort should be made to prevent a physical border being positioned between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. However, in a worst case scenario of a physical border, technology should be availed of and systems should be put in place to allow for as frictionless as possible transit from one side of the border to the other. Contingency plans for this eventuality should be drafted well in advance of any determination.

• It is imperative that skilled workers currently working in both jurisdictions retain the right to work and reside after withdrawal.

• The UK Government should prioritise food security over the UK being self-sufficient in food production.

• Governments and administrations in BIPA jurisdictions, especially the UK Government, should work with the agri-food sector and its representatives to highlight how it can be more productive when there is currency depreciation.

• The UK Government should work closely with devolved Governments to devise a UK-wide replacement to the Common Agricultural Policy. CAP’s replacement should have sufficient flexibility to meet local needs and differences and ensure that devolved Governments retain competence over agriculture policy.

Committee Chair Deputy Joan Burton TD said today, ““This inquiry made abundantly clear how the agri-food industries in BIPA member jurisdictions are closely connected, including through significant trade and processing aspects. The BIPA members are key export and import markets for each other’s agri-food sectors. For example, the UK and Ireland are each other’s largest export market for food and drink. It is therefore incumbent on all parties in the negotiations to secure an outcome which is the least damaging to the interests of the agri-food sector”.

“Brexit challenges us all to respond to a new set of economic challenges and agriculture must be protected. The coming years will require creativity and perseverance in order to meet the challenges and opportunities that Brexit presents.”

Read the report here



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