A group of leading representatives of the food and drink industries have written an open letter to the Government calling for an early agreement on future trade between the UK and Ireland.
Signatories to the letter included the Food & Drink Federation, Agricultural Industries Confederation, Fresh Produce Consortium, National Farmers Union and the Ulster Farmers Union. They point out that not only do the two countries share their only land border, but that the Republic of Ireland, ‘Buys more from us than the United States, China, Russia, Brazil, Canada and Japan combined. Nearly a fifth of UK food and drink exports go to Ireland, with more than a third of Ireland’s reaching UK shores.’ There is also a significant trade in raw materials between the two countries.
The authors of the letter represent the UK’s agri-food and drink sector which employs 4 million people, or 13.5 per cent of the UK workforce. They warn that, “A cliff-edge scenario that results in a sudden transformation to our trading arrangements with Ireland would be hugely damaging for our industry and for the wider economy on both sides of the border.”