24th MAY 2018 - Page 1



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See page 83
Industry leaders put down ‘red
line’ in bid to influence Brexit
L
EADING industry
figures set down their
own Brexit ‘red line’
this week as UK and
European chiefs attempted
to find a solution to policing
the Irish border that would
be acceptable to all.
Both the Ulster Farmers’ Union
(UFU) and the Northern Ireland
Food and Drink Association
(NIFDA) insisted that any deal
reached had to safeguard
Northern Ireland’s trade with the
British mainland while allowing
business to continue with the
REPORT
By TERRI LEONARD
t.leonard@farmweek.com
Republic.
NIFDA chairman Declan
Billington warned: “Any solution
to the unique situation of the
Northern Ireland border must
absolutely ensure that no barriers
to trade arise between Northern
Ireland and Great Britain as a
consequence.”
Following the breakdown of
talks on Monday, Prime Minister
Theresa May faces a race against
time to find a solution ahead of
the European Council Summit
due to be held next Thursday
(December 14).
A potential deal on the border
collapsed at the 11th hour
after political and economic
objections were raised over
the proposal to make special
arrangements for Northern
Ireland that would have involved
the Province maintaining
“regulatory alignment” with the
Republic.
It is understood that that would
have effectively meant moving
the border between the EU and
Britain to the Irish Sea ports.
Mrs May must convince the
leaders of the EU27 that sufficient
progress has been made on
outstanding “divorce” issues,
such as the border, in order to
proceed to the second phase of
Brexit trade talks.
Mr Billington said that whatever
the outcome of the ongoing
negotiations, there must be no
barriers for the Province’s agrifood trade with either GB or the
Republic.
He told FarmWeek: “It must
also ensure that our customers
in Great Britain do not
subsequently perceive that we
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