A substantial no-deal Brexit reduction in the farm gate price of Irish beef would be inevitable, until alternative markets could be secured that offer prices close to those previously available from exports to the UK, according to Teagasc experts.
They said the tariff-rate quotas (TRQs) announced last March by the UK, for zero tariff beef imports into the UK, are smaller than existing volumes of imports from Ireland (the UK currently accounts for over half of all Irish beef exports).
And these TRQs would be available on a first-come, first-served basis to a range of exporters globally.
Irish beef dominates the current UK beef imports, but Australia, Brazil, Canada, the US and Argentina could profitably export beef to the UK at lower prices than would be feasible for Irish exporters.
The over-quota tariffs are high enough to make full tariff-paid exports of beef from Ireland unattractive on the UK market.
Of all the Irish farm sectors, the no-deal UK tariff schedule would have the largest implications for the Irish beef sector, which would lose its preferential (high-price) access to the UK beef market. Therefore, the negative consequences for the Irish beef sector would be considerable, according to analysis by the Teagasc Rural Economy and Development team.
The proposed UK no-deal tariffs and TRQs are comparatively benign for dairy products, but prohibitively high for lamb.