LORDS

No time to lose on Protocol implementation for Northern Ireland agrifood

03 July 2020

The EU Environment Sub-Committee writes to Secretary of State George Eustice to summarise the key findings from its inquiry on agrifood and the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Background

In June this year, the Committee took evidence from organisations throughout the Northern Ireland agrifood supply chain, from the grain trade and farmers to food processors and retail, as well as the fishing industry.

The Committee has now written to the Secretary of State setting out its key findings, including:

  • The Protocol is an opportunity for Northern Ireland to have a unique position in trade, but a UK-EU free trade agreement is critical to making this possible
  • There are significant risks if the Protocol is implemented without enough preparation and a careful approach, particularly if standards diverge between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK: the viability of some Northern Ireland agrifood business operations could be threatened and Northern Ireland consumers could face higher food prices
  • There is an urgent need for the Government to step up its engagement and start detailed discussions on proposals for how to implement the Protocol with Northern Ireland agrifood businesses.

Further information

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