I propose to take Questions Nos. 263 and 264 together.
As Minister, I am continually aware of the international global trade dynamic and its potential impact on irish agriculture. My key focus, at all times, is the protection and enhancement of the incomes of our farmers, fishers and food producers.
The conclusion of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the UK and Australia could have implications for Irish agri-food exports to the UK. The extent of these implications, however, would depend on the specific agri-food market access provisions agreed between the UK and Australia as part of those negotiations. It is difficult to comment more fully on these implications without greater certainty as to what exactly may be agreed between the UK and Australia.
It is important to remember that any FTA signed by the UK with a third country will only affect that country’s access to the UK market.
The EU-UK TCA ensures continued quota and tariff-free access for Irish agri-food goods to the UK market, and this has been in operation since 1 January 2021. Irish agri-food goods may also avail of the access provided to other third countries based on the other FTAs concluded by the EU over many decades. Finally, Ireland is a member of the EU and has full unimpeded access to the EU Single Market of 450 million people.
I am continually aware of the international global trade dynamic and its potential impact on Irish agriculture. My key focus, at all times, is the protection and enhancement of the incomes of our farmers, fishers and food producers. I will examine the need for an impact assessment on the sectors.