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Bord Bia’s London Office Brexit Update: 6th November 2020

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

A no-deal Brexit was still a serious risk, EU diplomats warned, before accusing British negotiators of failing to 'engage sufficiently'. There are still "wide divergences" on "core issues" of the Brexit trade negotiations, David Frost said on Wednesday night after two weeks of intensive talks with the EU. A no trade deal Brexit remained a serious risk, EU diplomats warned, accusing British negotiators of failing to "engage sufficiently" on the three most divisive issues.  Running down the clock would not force concessions from Brussels, they said after it became clear there was no breakthrough on fishing, the "level playing field guarantees" and the deal's enforcement. Michel Barnier told EU ambassadors in Brussels that some progress had been made but that the two sides were still divided over the long-standing sticking points. UK and EU negotiators hope to agree a zero-tariff and zero quota trade deal by mid-November so that the agreement can be ratified before the end of the transition period on January 1st. Both sides have spent almost two weeks locked in intensified negotiations. Those talks are now expected to resume in London on Sunday.

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. These challenges have intensified due to the global supply chain challenges arising from Covid-19. Efforts to diversify growth into new markets as a response to Brexit have also brought these risks into sharp focus. The Market Diversification section of the action plan focuses on key actions to guide Irish food and drink manufacturers on developing a strategy for expanding into new geographies.

This chapter of the Action Plan covers activities that your business should be considering to unlock the value that market diversification can deliver, by:

1.    Identifying potential markets for expansion (access Bord Bia’s Market Prioritisation Reports)

2.    Develop a comprehensive market strategy for the selected market

3.    Localising your product range

4.    Activating your market diversification plans (Attend a Trade Fair and/or Trade Mission)

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 going forward. Expansion into new geographic regions requires thorough analysis and planning. A comprehensive market strategy provides a clear set of criteria and targets to help organisations make the required change as efficiently as possible.

To learn more please visit Bord Bia’s Brexit Action Plan: Market Diversification 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