Brexit, no matter what format it takes, will have a negative impact on Irish agri-food across all sectors by virtue of their exposure to the UK market. This is particularly true of the poultry sector, in terms of export dependence on the UK market.
The overall value of Irish poultry exports have increased by around 3 percent for 2017 to €295 million in value, with volumes rising by 1 percent during the same period. The number of poultry birds processed in Ireland reached record levels at 96m birds. During the same period Irish imports decreased by 7 percent reflecting increased preference for Irish product in the foodservice channel. The great majority of Irish poultry exports continue to go to the UK which records almost 80 percent market share for 2017 or some €240m. The share of Irish poultry exports going to other EU markets has edged upwards to 10 percent, with France maintaining its position as the most important market especially for leg meat that is not consumed on the home market.
Increasing market access is a key priority for the sector and will support further export reach. Some recent trade developments could lead to new opportunities, such as the EU-Japan free trade agreement. In addition, access for Irish poultry formed a key part of discussions on the recent trade missions to Malaysia and Indonesia.