Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (1151)

Carol Nolan


1151. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has had recent discussions with the European Commissioner for Trade regarding difficulties that will arise for the agrifood sector in the scenario of a no-deal Brexit; the measures that will be implemented to protect trade with the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18700/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

While I have not met with the European Commissioner for Trade specifically in a Brexit context, I have been in communication with her on broader international trade issues of relevance to Ireland.

Chief among these is the position adopted by the European Union in Free Trade Agreement negotiations with third countries. Given the threat posed by Brexit to Ireland's beef sector in particular, it is vitally important that we secure the most benign and advantageous trading environment possible. In this regard I continue to be active in particular in relation to EU negotiations with Mercosur, in order to ensure that the potential impact of Brexit is taken into account in avoiding any further concessions in relation to beef tariff rate quotas.

On Brexit more specifically, I have held a series of meetings with European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, during which we have discussed the potential impact that a no-deal Brexit could have on Ireland's agri-food sector, as well as the Commission’s readiness to deploy support measures to help mitigate the potential impacts on farmers and businesses in the sector. My officials remain in regular contact with Commission counterparts in this regard.

In terms of the negotiating mandate for the EU's future relationship with the UK, I will continue to press Ireland's key asks, namely, continued free access to the UK market (without tariffs, and with minimal additional customs and administrative procedures), minimisation of the risk from UK trade agreements with third countries, and maintenance of existing reciprocal access to fishing waters and resources.