News article

16 August 2017

FDF response to the Government's position paper on future UK relations with the Republic of Ireland

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Responding to the publication today of the position paper on Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, Ian Wright CBE, Director General of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), said:

“Resolution of the Brexit issues surrounding the island of Ireland is the most urgent priority for the UK Government. The stakes are high: the peace and prosperity of the citizens of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland hang in the balance.

“We are pleased the Government's paper acknowledges the enormous practical challenges facing us in food and drink, as expressed by FDF and the industry. Nearly a fifth of UK food and drink exports go to Ireland, with more than a third of Ireland's reaching the UK. FDF therefore welcomes the Government's commitment to preserve a seamless, frictionless, open border with the Republic. We are also pleased to note the commitment to preserving both the Common Travel Area and Common Transit Convention.

“Of course, these proposals can only become reality when they are agreed with the EU27. We therefore urge the UK and EU negotiating teams to swiftly agree practical solutions which provide business with certainty around the future of the seamless and highly valuable market in food and drink that exists between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

"We will work closely with Government to identify technical solutions to the challenges posed by a new 'trusted traders' scheme, customs exemptions for SMEs and the issues around sanitary inspection checks for food and drink products. Each of these must be done in a way that does not burden business. We reiterate FDF's offer to convene a joint industry-Government task force to tackle the specific border challenges for food and drink. We must ensure that vital imports and exports of raw ingredients and finished goods are not delayed or impeded. If that can be achieved, then UK and Irish consumers of food and drink will continue to enjoy the quality, choice and value that they rightly have come to expect.”

More Information

Contact Ella Stanbrook, Corporate Affairs Division, at: ella.stanbrook@fdf.org.uk, or 02074207131.

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