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Bord Bia’s London Office Brexit Update: 30th October 2020

 Cian Hassett UK Market, Bord Bia – The Irish Food Board

Brexit talks this week have been making good progress, according to Ursula Von der Leyen. As the negotiations moved to Brussels after seven days in London, the European commission president said that they were making good progress and were hoping to see more progress soon on the outstanding issues of the level of access to British waters the UK will provide to EU fishing fleets, fair competition rules for business, including rules on domestic subsidies, and the mechanism in the final treaty for resolving future disputes. The European council president, Charles Michel, said the state of the talks would probably assessed next week with Brussels hoping to start the ratification process in mid-November.

Bord Bia’s Brexit Action Plan provides practical information that Irish food and drink manufacturers can utilise in order to prepare for increased complexity in future trade with the UK. It addresses actions companies should take in two scenarios: a future Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the EU and the UK (still to be defined as it is currently under negotiation) and No Agreement, whereby the UK and EU will trade on WTO terms. Bord Bia’s support services, along with other State supports, can be found listed at the end of each chapter.

With the increasing uncertainty some suppliers are currently facing in light of the upcoming end to the transition period, combined with the lack of clarity on how trade will progress between the UK and EU from January 1st 2021, the Customer Relationships section of the action plan focuses on how Irish food and drink manufacturers can strengthen their customer relationships and unlock new growth opportunities. It provides some useful guidance on understanding your market position and on developing commercial marketing strategies.

This chapter of the Action Plan covers activities that your business should be considering to maintain and improve your relationships with customers, including:

1.    Developing a commercial marketing strategy for the UK

2.    Planning and implementing this marketing strategy

3.    Establishing regular meetings with your customers

4.    Gaining an understanding of their Brexit concerns

5.    Reviewing your commercial contracts and International Commercial Terms (Incoterms)

6.    Evaluating your market position

Regardless of Brexit, understanding where your business is now and where you want it to be is the basis for the plans the business will need to make. This is even more important as manufacturers seek to rebuild in the UK market post-Covid-19.

To learn more please visit Bord Bia’s Brexit Action Plan: Customer Relationship page


For the past 23 years, Bord Bia’s GB Trade Reception has been an occasion for Irish food and drink suppliers to celebrate the success of the year gone by and to look to the year ahead with their GB customers, continuing to build strong and successful relationships. This year more than ever, it is important for us to recognise the strength of these relationships and to plan a shared pathway to commercial growth for 2021 and beyond. Bord Bia will host a Virtual GB Trade Reception on Thursday 5th of November at 14.00 until 15.30. This will be streamed live from both the Embassy of Ireland, London and the RDS Concert Hall, Dublin. To register your interest, and for more details, please visit the Bord Bia Virtual GB Trade Reception 2020 Page.


What’s next – Key Dates:

Nov-Dec: Potential period for ratification of a deal and preparations for implementation OR scaling up of UK readiness to trade on WTO terms.

31st December: Transition period ends and UK reverts to trading on WTO terms if no deal is secured.

1st Jan 2021:

-       NI Protocol comes into effect

-       Phased UK Border Operating Model comes into effect – detailed record keeping required and declarations/tariffs (can be deferred up to 6 months)

1st Apr 2021: Introduction of SPS controls

1st July 2021: Full customs and SPS border controls in place