Irish Exporters Association holds exchange with British Ambassador to Ireland

Yesterday, the Irish Exporters Association (IEA), in partnership with Rhenus Logistics, Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail and Fleet Transport Magazine held a seminar as part of its 2020 Export Series with H.E. Robin Barnett, British Ambassador to Ireland delivering a keynote address. The event, which put the spotlight on the UK market, comes at an important time for Irish exporters as negotiations on a new partnership between the EU and the UK began last week in Brussels and will continue next week in London.

Paul Savage, Assistant Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine (DAFM) also addressed the seminar, with contributions from Barry Cullen, Silver Hill Foods, David Sadlier, Rhenus Logistics Ltd. Mark McKeever, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Akriti Gupta, Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Today’s event was an opportunity to take stock of the negotiations, that will conclude by the end of October in order to have an agreement ratified by the end of the year. The IEA’s Export Series, which runs until the end of October, focuses on Trade Compliance, the Green Supply Chain, Brexit and Market Diversification. The Series builds on the IEA’s vital work in representing and informing Irish exporters on the key issues and trends affecting them. The next seminar, taking place in Shannon Airport on 26 March, will explore the green supply chain.

Simon McKeever, Chief Executive, Irish Exporters Association commented: I would like to thank Ambassador Barnett for addressing our 2020 Export Series. Negotiations on a future partnership between the EU and UK have finally commenced. The EU has been clear that there will be no rolling back on the Withdrawal Agreement and the Protocol on Northern Ireland. I am very concerned that the tight timeframe for negotiations may not yield a result that is in the interest of Irish exporters. It will be challenging for exporters to remain focused on preparing for 1 January 2021, as we deal with the various aspects of the coronavirus over the coming weeks and months. I would like to thank Rhenus Logistics, Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail and Fleet Transport Magazine for their support in holding today’s crucial seminar.“

H.E. Robin Barnett, British Ambassador to Ireland said: “I would like to thank Simon McKeever and his team for the opportunity to speak with the Irish Exporters Association. The UK and Ireland have always been key trading partners with trade in both directions currently running at around 1 billion Euro a week. I am confident that we will continue to have a strong economic relationship whatever the final outcome of the ongoing UK/EU negotiations.  Moreover, our relationship is far deeper than just trade and business. It is centred on people, friendship, family, culture, sport. Nothing will change that. And this is why, in spite of the immediate challenges before us, I am confident that our unique relationship has a bright future.”

Paul Savage, Assistant Secretary General at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine said: “As the UK has chosen to leave the Single Market and Customs Union the status quo will not remain the same for our agri-food exports and imports and some level of disruption is inevitable. The Department has undertaken very significant preparations for Brexit and stakeholder communication is ongoing. We continue to urge all exporters to register with Revenue for an EORI number, encourage our food exporters and importers to register with the Department and to continually monitor the situation in relation to the UK export certification requirements as well. The Department’s Brexit webpage also has extensive information for the trade and businesses.”