EU dairy trade believes that Brexit will cause problems for Europe as a whole

Eucolait, the European Association of Dairy Trade, has just released its position paper on future EU-UK trade relations.

Eucolait believes that the UK leaving the EU will cause great damage, economic and otherwise, to both the United Kingdom and the European Union, specifically in Ireland.

Eucolait strongly believes that there should continue to be an open, dairy trade, free from tariffs and non-tariff barriers, between the UK and EU. They see the EU as by far the main market for UK dairy products and an almost exclusive supplier when it comes to UK dairy imports.

According to Eucolait, the Ireland/Northern Ireland border is of particular concern. In 2016 about 800mL of raw milk crossed the border from the UK to Ireland to be processed. Moreover, 75% of the processing facilities in Northern Ireland are fully or jointly owned by Irish cooperatives.

Re-establishment of a border, let alone duties, would be “extremely harmful to both producers in Northern Ireland and dairies in the Republic of Ireland”.

A Eucolait spokesperson said, “We believe that the UK leaving the EU will cause great damage, economic and otherwise, to both the [European] Union and the United Kingdom.

“Even though the divorce procedure has not yet been triggered, the UK government has already clarified its intention to leave the single market, while at the same time stressing its wish to maintain strong trade ties with the EU.

As the withdrawal notification under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty is expected by the end of March, it is important to assess which kind of an agreement would be in the best interest of both sides once the UK is no longer a member of the European Union.

“From our perspective, the future trade relationship between the EU and the UK should be as close to the present situation as possible. This means that milk and dairy products should circulate freely between the two markets, without being subject to tariffs or non-tariff barriers and without or with minimal border and customs controls.”