DAFM and its agencies, together with the relevant stakeholders, have been giving careful consideration to these potential impacts, even before the referendum took place in June 2016
DAFM established a Brexit Unit immediately after the vote to leave was announced. This Division is central to all Brexit issues across Government. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and senior officials are in regular contact with their counterparts in other Member States, in Northern Ireland, the UK, the EU Commission, other Government Departments, the relevant state agencies and the various stakeholders.
Some of the Brexit challenges were addressed through Budget 2017, with the allocation of significant additional resources to Bord Bia and BIM in order to provide Brexit-related supports to affected companies. Budget 2017 also provided additional agri-taxation measures, and increased funding under the Rural Development Programme and Seafood Development Programme. The Budget also provided funding for the Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan scheme.
The Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan scheme was developed by DAFM in co-operation with the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI), making €150 million available to farmers at interest rates of 2.95%. Distributed and administered through AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank, the Scheme provides farmers with a low cost, flexible source of working capital, allowing them to pay down more expensive forms of short-term debt, ensuring the ongoing financial sustainability of viable farming enterprises.
DAFM is examining the impact of tariffs by sector by CN code using data from the European Commission Taric and Customs database and export trade data from the Central Statistics Office, Ireland. The analysis will allow an estimated tariff rate equivalent by CN code and the estimated cost of the tariff equivalent. The ESRI and Teagasc are also carrying out analysis of the impact of a possible WTO tariff implications.
In April, DAFM announced a seven point plan for market access, including additional resources on market access in the Department, market profiling research by Bord Bia, and an intensified programme of trade missions to promote Irish food and drink on EU and third country markets. These initiatives will undoubtedly be of direct assistance to Irish food and drink exporters this year. They are entirely consistent with the Food wise 2025 strategy. DAFM will, of course, keep these arrangements under review, in consultation with industry, to ensure that resources are deployed to best effect and that our efforts are focussed on making real progress for business operators in priority markets.
The more medium- to long-term impacts of Brexit include the potential disruption that will arise from:
Brexit has been added as a standard standing item to the agenda of the Food Wise 2025 High Level Implementation Committee, allowing ongoing monitoring and response to Brexit in the context of the implementation of Food Wise 2025.
DAFM’s network of agriculture attachés is also engaged in agri-food-related Brexit follow-up, through the Embassies in London, Paris and Geneva, and the Perm Rep in Brussels.
Bord Bia established a Brexit Division and in conjunction with PwC, developed a Brexit Barometer; an assessment toolkit ( www.bordbia. ie/BrexitBarometerTool ) for the industry that will assist individual companies assess the impact and their readiness for Brexit. The barometer identifies six key topics that will likely effect companies and approximately 100 questions form the basis of the assessment. Each company on completion will receive an assessment based on a traffic light system and a supporting document will provide suggested actions to mitigate risk. Bord Bia personnel will meet with companies on an individual basis to bring them through the barometer.
BIM has engaged Deloitte, consulting and financial advisors to provide insights and guidance to BIM on potential impacts of Brexit upon the seafood sector. They are working on a report that will provide guidance on how companies and the seafood sector can build business planning and future strategies in relation to this.
Teagasc has established a Brexit Working Group to identify the actions to be adopted to support long-term competitiveness.
Enterprise Ireland established a Brexit Unit to ensure the right actions are taken to deliver sustainable growth through and beyond the BREXIT process. The key measures include:
Enterprise Ireland identified approx. 90 food client companies who had exposure to the impact of Brexit. This was followed by intense and proactive interaction with those food clients to understand, inter alia, their exposure to the UK market, critical issues facing the company, what supports Enterprise Ireland could offer, and what other external supports were important to the client and an action plan to address the issues.
A booklet, ‘Information for Irish exporters following UK decision to leave the EU’ was published, outlining some of its plans to support clients including: Information and Guidance; Market Diversification Supports; International Sector Clustering Strategy; UK In-Market Supports and Competitiveness and Market Development Supports.
Enterprise Ireland developed an online tool to help clients take the first step to self-assess your level of preparedness for Brexit. The output of the scorecard is a comprehensive report, containing actions and next steps for the clients’ consideration, as well as events the client may wish to attend, information and key resources. A significant number of companies have already completed the Scorecard since its launch and the feedback has been very positive.
Enterprise Ireland also launched a new initiative to encourage companies to develop specific plans to respond to Brexit. This new initiative will provide support of up to €5,000 towards the costs associated with preparing a Brexit Action Plan. Once a client ’s Brexit Action Plan is developed, Enterprise Ireland can work with clients to fast- track their engagement with Enterprise Ireland, to identify possible opportunities for further support as the client implements its Brexit Plans.
A number of Prepare for Brexit Breakfast Road Shows have taken place around the country. This focus of the events is on identifying exposure companies to Brexit, winning international sales and other strategies to address Brexit challenges and opportunities.