Creed and Leadsom prioritise agri-food trade in Brexit negotiations
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has described his meeting today with the UK secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, Andrea Leadsom MP, as “a very positive exchange”.
Minister Creed said: “I welcome in particular the secretary of state’s acknowledgement of the shared issues we face, and her assurance that the interests of the agri-food and fisheries sectors are a key priority for her in the upcoming negotiations.”
The pair met to exchange of views on the implications for the agri-food and fisheries sectors of the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
Long tradition of trade
Both ministers acknowledged the long tradition of trade in agri-food between the two countries, and agreed that they wanted this to continue. They discussed their respective departments’ preparations to date, and the approaches being taken by the Irish and UK governments.
Afterwards, Minister Creed said: “I believe that, given the high levels of agri-food trade between Ireland and the UK and the highly integrated nature of that trade, it is in both our interests to maintain the existing relationship to the maximum extent possible.
“Today’s meeting with Andrea Leadsom provided a very useful opportunity for me to emphasise the importance to Ireland of the potentially very significant impacts for the agri-food and fisheries sectors arising from Brexit, and to assess UK thinking in this regard.
It also allowed us to identify Brexit-related issues in respect of which we have a common interest. As such, I think it built very positively on the bilateral contacts that have already taken place at official level, and which we have agreed should continue over the coming months.”
The ministers noted where the main challenges were likely to arise, including in relation to how tariff and other trade issues will be dealt with in the post-exit relationship, the practical difficulties associated with possible border controls and certification requirements, the particular challenges presented from a North-South perspective, and the complex issues that arise in relation to fisheries.
Useful starting point
Minister Creed said that today’s meeting was a “very useful starting point in what we have agreed will be a process of regular consultation as the situation in relation to Brexit unfolds”.
“I look forward to continuing engagement at both political and official levels over the coming months in the interests of securing the best possible outcome for the Irish agri-food and fisheries sectors.”