Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
466. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the extent to which negotiations are taking place with or through the EU to address Brexit related issues in respect of Irish food exports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38943/21]
The EU – UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) came into effect on 1st January 2021. This created a new framework for the EU-UK trading relationship now that the UK is outside the Single Market and Customs Union.
Although some of the UK's import controls have been in place since 1st January, other requirements are coming into effect on a phased basis, with the next phase commencing on 1st October. The EU is engaging the UK bilaterally on these requirements. This is being augmented by regular engagement between the Department and the UK authorities across the range of additional requirements that Irish food exports will face from 1st October.
I would have preferred a more comprehensive arrangement in the TCA that included an SPS agreement that eased the process of moving agri-food goods between the EU and the UK. However, the UK was not prepared to commit to the extent of regulatory alignment with EU rules that would have been required in order to facilitate such an SPS agreement.
Discussions with the UK are also underway in accordance with the provisions of the TCA. The overarching body that will monitor the agreement and ensure its implementation is the Partnership Council. This will be supported by a number of committees and working groups, including the Trade Specialised Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.
Effective implementation of the TCA is a priority, and I welcomed the first meeting of the Partnership Council of the TCA in June of this year. Further meetings of the Committees under the TCA will be held over the coming months, including on Fisheries, which is expected to take place on 20th July. The SPS Committee is expected to be held later in the year, around September or October.
The EU and UK will be represented on these Committees, and Member States, including Ireland, will participate in meetings as part of the EU delegation. As part of this process, the Department is engaging closely with our EU partners to ensure that our key interests are protected and advanced.