​Irish & EU officials reach draft agreement on movement of goods to EU via UK

Irish and EU officials have reached a draft agreement to limit the impact of Brexit on the movement of Irish food products and live animals into the rest of the EU via the UK land bridge, RTÉ News has reported.

As a result of the agreement, officials say Irish food exports will be able to access "green lanes" when they come off ferries traveling from British to continental ports.

The deal, which must still be approved by member states, will require a change in EU rules governing the surveillance of food coming into the single market.

Without the agreement, officials say food and live animal exports from Ireland would have faced a significant increase in costs, delays and paperwork, and some Dutch ports might have become off-limits to live exports altogether.

This would have created a risk to the flow of Irish food and live animal exports to the continent, say officials.

The President of the Irish Farmers Association, Tim Cullinan, has welcomed the progress, describing it as "significant".

Mr Cullinan said: "It is crucial that there are no barriers to trade or additional costs arising from Britain's exit from the EU.

"Live animal exports are particularly important for Irish farmers to put more competition into our beef sector".

Once the Brexit transition period expires at the end of December, Irish live animal and food exports transiting the UK will be arriving in European ports from a third country. Some 80% of Irish exports to the EU and the rest of the world are thought to transit the UK.

Image: Frank Hanna livestock

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