Dairy UK said it looked forward to the start of trade discussions which will be crucial in ensuring that the UK dairy industry can thrive in a post-Brexit era. The comments follow last week’s announcement of a Brexit breakthrough, as reported in FoodIngredientsFirst.
After months of negotiations and what looked like a continuing impasse, finally, the UK government and EU reached a last-minute deal on key points, including the fact there will be no “hard border” in Ireland. For food and beverage industries, particularly the dairy industry, the Northern Ireland border is one of the key points that could impact trade and so companies have been closely monitoring Brexit talks for months, hoping that a “hard border” will be avoided.
The joint agreement on the rights of EU and UK citizens residing in the UK and in other member states and a framework for ensuring there will be no hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were “vitally important steps in the right direction,” said Dairy UK.
“We are very pleased that progress has been made on these important issues, so that the all-important talks on trade can begin,” said Dr. Judith Bryans, Chief Executive of Dairy UK.
“We have continued to stress how important ensuring there remains no border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is to the dairy industry supply chain, which requires the transportation of raw milk and other products across the border without tariff or administrative barriers.”
“We also welcome the commitment to protect the East-West border, as it is crucial there remains regulatory alignment between Northern Ireland and Great Britain so trade can continue freely within the UK. This is important for a number of reasons, including avoiding an undue burden of regulation for businesses within the UK, and because dairy and meat from NI make an important contribution to food on shelf in GB.”
Bryans adds how the dairy industry in the UK relies on continuous access to labour and the progress on the rights of EU citizens is also welcome, but points out that there is a “great deal more work to be done in this area” to ensure the dairy industry can move into the post-Brexit era with confidence.”
“The UK dairy industry is strategically important for the nation. What we need now is greater detail and clarity on our future relationship with the EU in the transition period and beyond, so that the dairy industry has both certainty and stability in which to do business,” she adds.
“We are ready and willing to continue providing information on Brexit and trade to Government, to ensure we achieve the optimum outcome for the dairy industry.”