No-deal Brexit may see 90% collapse in beef and cheese exports - study


By Tony Connelly, RTE (Ireland)

8 Feb 2019


A study of the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the EU’s agri-food industry has claimed that beef and cheese exports from Ireland to the UK could collapse by up to 90% with the loss of over 3,500 jobs.


The report by a food industry organisation says cheese exports to the UK could fall by 89%, while beef and other meats would fall by 88% and 76% respectively.


Revenues for the beef sector could fall by €732 million, with a fall of €325 million for the cheese sector.


The study into how a hard Brexit would affect food and drink imports to the UK from six EU countries was commissioned in March 2017 by a European food lobby, FoodDrinkEurope, but its findings have not been published.


However, the report, which has been seen by RTÉ News, highlights the scale of disruption a no-deal scenario could cause to the European agri-food industry if the current single market trade flows were replaced overnight by WTO tariffs.


The authors of the study, carried out by FTI Consulting, looked at the impact of a hard Brexit on the French and Irish cheese sectors, the Irish beef and "other meat" industries, as well as Italian wine and pasta producers, German bread and cake exporters and Belgian chocolate makers.


The report does not look at the impact of non-tariff barriers, such as food safety and animal health controls, nor does it explore the effect of tariffs on UK exports or inputs to the EU.


Meat and cheese are disproportionately hit the hardest by the WTO tariff effect, the study found.


The price of French and Irish cheeses being sold to the UK could rise by 58% and 56% respectively under WTO tariffs, while Irish beef prices could rise by 54%...