Brexit poses enormous challenges for the agri-food and fisheries sectors by virtue of their exposure to the UK market. In 2018, almost 46%, or €4.4 billion, of total agri-food imports across a wide range of product categories, came from the UK.
A no-deal Brexit will add costs, delays and complexity all along the food supply chain, but Ireland will continue to import food from the UK post-Brexit. The decisions regarding what food is imported from the UK are a matter for traders. These decisions will be informed by a range of factors including, but not limited to, the prevailing currency exchange rates, tariffs and consumer demand.
While every effort is being made to prepare and put in place mitigation measures, we can expect, at least in the initial period post-Brexit, that tariffs and checks and controls will be disruptive to trade with the UK. I can assure the Deputy that no-deal preparations have the highest priority in my Department and that I and my officials are continuing to work to minimise disruption in so far as we can.