ABFI’s second meeting with the Barnier Taskforce in five weeks followed the publication of the ABFI paper on Brexit and the Irish drinks industry and this time focussed on the potential implications of post-Brexit custom changes on the all-island Irish drinks industry.
The aggregate value of trade in drinks products between the UK and Ireland was €364 million last year, one third of which (€121 million) represents the aggregate value of north-south trade.
“The Irish drinks industry is a highly integrated all-island sector, important to both the Irish and Northern Irish economies,” stated ABFI Director Patricia Callan following the meeting, “This is recognised by the EU Commission and the Barnier Taskforce as evidenced by their recent active engagement with us.”
The UK remains the dominant market for Irish beer (71%) and cider (85%).
The meeting provided ABFI with an opportunity to restate the importance of avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.
“In total the Irish drinks industry carries-out over 23,000 truck movements across the Irish border every year” she said, “over 5,000 of which are alcohol tanker-movements.
“We support the Irish Government’s efforts to seek to avoid a hard border, both now and in the future.”
The meeting also discussed the need to avoid new tariffs being introduced between the EU and the UK and any potential impact of such on Irish cross-border supply chain movements.
For example, a no-deal Brexit could result in a range of new tariffs on cross-border supply chains, including:
- A 9% tariff on cream from Irish dairy producers used for cream liqueur production in Northern Ireland
- Tariffs of up to €93 per tonne on Irish barley and €131 per tonne on Irish malt being distilled by Northern Ireland distilleries
- An EU external tariff of 5% on 130 million glass bottles imported into Ireland from the UK
- A 7.2% tariff on apples grown in Northern Ireland used in cider production south of the border.