Wednesday, 13 March 2019
Ceisteanna ar Reachtaíocht a Gealladh - Questions on Promised Legislation
I thank the Deputies for their questions. As they will be aware, some time ago my Department quantified that the additional cost to our exports to the UK if it decided to apply the full WTO tariff would be in the region of €1.7 billion. The UK Government this morning proposed a unique and bespoke approach to tariffs, as it is entitled to do in the context of its trade with the European Union. We are carrying out a detailed analysis of those proposals. For example, the equivalent of the full WTO tariff is proposed for some commodities, whereas for other commodities it is half or less than half the full WTO tariff. A broad selection of options has been laid out by the UK. As the Deputies are aware, the Government has been engaged with the Commission. In fact, even today a senior team from my Department is in negotiations with the Commission on all of these issues and the interventions that may be necessary. However, we can only respond when an action is implemented. The British Government has put forward a proposal regarding what would happen in the event of a no-deal Brexit. However, as the Deputies are aware, there will be a vote this evening in the House of Commons which could take a no-deal Brexit off the agenda. I assure the Deputies, farmers and the agrifood industry generally that there is a commitment to intervene at Commission or Exchequer level to provide the supports that may be necessary in the case of a no-deal Brexit.