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Thu Sep 12, 2019, 06:04 AM

Ireland: Will UK smugglers make hay while agriculture in NI and the Republic

crashes? It is one of the oldest professions.

... Last week Varadkar confirmed for the first time that there would be checks on goods coming across the Northern Ireland border. “Some may need to take place near the border” rather than on the border but most would be in ports, airports and at businesses. That is of little comfort to agri-food businesses facing mandatory sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) checks. One poultry business told the Guardian they have been told that “near the border” is actually 100 miles away at Dublin Port, the only place with a Brexit-ready border inspection post...

... Trade to and from the UK is a vital part of Ireland’s economy with €16bn (£14.3bn) worth of exports to the UK in 2018 including around 50% of its beef and almost half its cheddar cheese. The EU has already given Ireland permission to open the coffers to help businesses cushion themselves – and Irish businesses are demanding £1bn to mitigate the Brexit shock.

Representatives of the French government were also at Dublin Castle to explain the special corridor they have set up for Irish freight using the UK as a landbridge to the continent. They have built a new smart-border customs system in Calais which will allow officials to distinguish between trucks carrying Irish and British cargo. Scans of documents will be taken while the truck is passing through the Eurotunnel or on the ferry allowing them to be waved through in Calais as an “EU member state” truck not requiring SPS checks...

... “It doesn’t matter what comes down the track in terms of paperwork, what we can’t deal with is the collapse in sterling,” says O’Leary. “Nobody is making money selling to the UK. We are just surviving.”


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