Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
20. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he has conducted a socio-economic impact assessment on the effects of the British-Australian trade agreement on Irish agriculture. [38717/21]
As Minister, I am continually aware of the 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.
On 16th June, the UK and Australian Governments announced they had reached a political agreement on their future trading relationship. Based on announcements made, it appears that the Agreement provides for full tariff-free access to the UK market at the end of 15 years for certain sensitive products, particularly beef and lamb, from Australia. Given the importance of the UK market to the agriculture sector, this is of course a matter of concern. However, the full extent of the implications of the agreement for Irish agriculture will depend on the specific detail in the final agreed text, which has not yet been published.
The Department, in response to Brexit, has further intensified its focus on market diversification for Irish agri-food exports. Since 2017, new or improved market access to several third countries has been gained. Despite this welcome development, the UK will remain a key market for Irish agri-food. Encouragingly, Bord Bia research has shown that British consumers have a high regard for Irish agri-food, and Bord Bia is continuing its intensive marketing in the UK.
In addition, the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement ensures continued quota-free and tariff-free access for Irish agri-food exports to the UK market. Irish agri-food goods also continue to benefit from market access to other third countries through EU Free Trade Agreements. Finally, Ireland as a Member State has full unimpeded access to the EU Single Market of 450 million people.