As we go to press, hope is building that the EU and the UK will agree a basic free trade agreement. The move earlier in the week by the British government to scrap controversial legislation that could have undermined parts of the Northern Ireland protocol within the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement has injected fresh momentum into negotiations. But whether it was an attempt by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to strike a deal with the EU or merely gain support in the US, time will tell.
Albeit that serious challenges remain, many expect a positive outcome to crunch talks between Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. A deal that prevents the EU/UK trading relationship defaulting to WTO rules in the coming weeks is a welcome development for both the Irish economy and farmers. Assuming it is ratified, the imposition of a €1.3bn per annum tariff bill on agri-food exports from Ireland is avoided.