Bord Bia announces Brexit supports for Irish food and drink exporters

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Bord Bia has announced that it will host a Brexit briefing event for food and drink exporters next Wednesday (6th July) in Dublin as it commences its range of support activities for the Irish agri-food industry.

At the event, Bord Bia will outline its strategy for consolidating Ireland’s position in the valuable UK market and look to equip exporters in managing short and medium term challenges that follow the UK referendum result on EU membership. The early morning event will bring together exporters and specialists in currency management, UK consumer behaviour and EU trade regulations, and follows on from intensive Bord Bia engagement with UK customers through its London office and its own post-Brexit survey of food and drink exporters.

Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive, Bord Bia said: “While our post-Brexit survey of food and drink companies indicates obvious concern about the short term shocks and uncertainty, exporters expressed a desire to hold their ground in the UK and are seeking assistance in developing the skills required to manage their way through the current difficulties based on insight and feedback from UK customers, buyers and consumers.”

Bord Bia’s strategy to support the industry in this uncertain environment is focused on assisting them maintain their competitiveness, addressing in particular the following specific issues it has articulated while in contact with the organisation:

· The provision of regular information updates

· Advice on managing volatility

· The provision of consumer and market insight

· Market development and diversification, including buyer events

· Market communications and promotion

Irish Food and Drink Exporter Survey Results

The recent survey, undertaken over the weekend and early this week, together with one-to-one discussions revealed that:

· Exporters are very uncertain about the implications of the UK decision and the impact on their business. Four out of ten expect their sales to decline, three out of ten expect them to remain unchanged and a third doesn’t know how it will impact them.

· Exchange rate volatility is the over-riding concern, cited by almost six out of ten firms, followed by the prospect of tariffs and border controls, which is of concern to 20% of businesses.

· While one in three companies say they will search out new markets, the remaining two thirds will opt for alternative solutions, generally focusing on a reduction in costs and recovering losses from higher prices.

· However, the majority of companies are in the early stages of considering their options, few had put a formal plan in place prior to the result of the referendum.

The overwhelming need articulated by clients is for information and regular updates on the market and on the negotiations and implications as they unfold. Support to develop and defend their positions in the UK market and navigate through the changes is also prioritised and, for those who believe they have the capacity to expand beyond the UK, there is a demand for support to find new markets.

Irish food and drink exports to the UK accounted for 41% of total exports in 2015, valued at €4.4 billion, significantly this was an increase of 7% on the previous year. As such, the exposure of the food and drink exporters to fallout from the UK electorate`s decision to leave the EU is more acute than any other sector.