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Tony Connelly @tconnellyRTE
, 10 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Here are some sobering observations from NI business groups when asked at DexEU committee what they would say to those calling for @theresa_may to walk away from negotiations:
Declan Billington, Chair of NI Food & Drink Assoc: "There is a strong fear of the consequences of leaving Europe on the 29 of March without a deal or without a transition and that we’re facing tariff walls.
"The viability of the dairy sector is being brought into question. Thirty percent of our milk goes south. A 16pc levy [on that milk] can’t actually go south. But we don’t have the physical infrastructure to process it in the North, or the markets to process it in.
"Over the distance the UK is a great mkt for us to expand into. But we don’t have 5 mths to build the factories to make the butter + cheese. So there's a real fear that unless the govt support the factories while they transition there could be serious casualties.
"Sheep farmers are wondering whether to breed for the coming year because 40pc of the sheep go south, the UK is in surplus. If we're cut off from the EU mkt that is being serviced from NI the UK mkt does not have the demand for the products so prices will crash.
"On the poultry side the UK mkt is in balance, so the white meat and brown meat have to go European mkt. 18pc of our beef is sold into Europe. It’s not 18pc of the livestock, it’s 18pc of the animal because the UK doesn’t consume all of the animal.
"NI is about 2.3pc of the UK pop so perhaps at a national level people don’t consider us to be significant, at a local level the wrong type of exit, a 5 mth window to get ready wd be devastating to our industry. I’m actually in shock to think that anybody would think otherwise
Aodhan Connolly, director of the NI Retail Consortium: "no deal is not an option. A backstop is not perfect, but it is much, much preferable to the alternative to no deal.
"If we go to MFN status with the WTO, consumers will see beef up to 37pc dearer, cheese up to 43pc dearer, tomatoes up to 8pc dearer. We;re already at the lowest baseline econmically of any of the regions and countries throughout the UK.
"Quite simply, the NI consumer, the NI shopper does not have the ability to absorb these cost rises that could come from a no deal scenario."
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