Ireland’s levy body Bord Bia plans to chair a meeting on the implications of Brexit for Ireland’s agri-food industry on 6 July in Dublin. It comes in the wake of a survey conducted by Bord Bia which revealed widespread fear and anxiety taking hold of the industry. So far, no one – not government, levy boards, banks or big businesses – have been able to provide cast iron assurances on what the future trading landscape will look like for Ireland’s exporters.
It’s not their fault; it is an unprecedented situation the UK and the EU now finds itself in. But businesses are looking to put plans in place to mitigate the potential financial risks of Brexit.
At the event, Bord Bia will outline plans to consolidate Ireland’s position in the valuable UK market. Irish food and drink exports to the UK account for 41% of the country’s total export output and trade was worth €4.4bn last year. Meat and livestock exports globally are valued at €3.7bn, and over 50% of Irish beef was exported to the UK in 2015.
“While our post-Brexit survey of food and drink companies indicates obvious concern about the short-term shocks and uncertainty, exporters expressed a desire to hold their ground in the UK and are seeking assistance in developing the skills required to manage their way through the current difficulties,” said Aidan Cotter, Bord Bia chief executive.
The morning event in Dublin will bring together exporters and foreign exchange specialists to provide advice on managing volatility.
After the EU referendum swung in favour of a British exit, Bord Bia launched a survey to assess the views of the industry. Unsurprisingly, exports are “very uncertain” about the implications of Brexit on business with four in ten braced for a drop in sales.
Volatility in currency exchange remains the overriding concern, with 60% of businesses sweating over the impact a weakened currency will have on competitive commerce. One third of companies have said they will seek out new markets, but the remaining two thirds will remain focused on UK trade. This, however, is likely to lead to companies restructuring finances to reduce costs and recover any losses by increasing prices.