Government needs to make dairy as much of a priority as the car industry, according to Dairy UK chairman Dr David Dobbin.
He said the industry was broadly asking for the same thing as other business areas amid Brexit but the Government needed to hear the message that ’dairy matters’.
“In the regions it is proportionately higher. While Nissan has received reassurances from the Government on Brexit, Dr Dobbin said the dairy sector was far more exposed.
“The car industry is only facing a tariff barrier of 5 per cent, ours would be 10 times that,” he said.
He called for the Government to negotiate tariff-free access to the EU market, with no non-tariff barriers and to solve border issues in Ireland.
He warned the only way a hard Brexit could work for the sector was if the Government could hold back a wave of cheap imports from future free trade agreements with New Zealand, Canada and the US until the industry was more competitive.
“It would require the Government to take a deep breath and support dairy despite inflation and I do not think they will be doing that, it would require too much state sign up,” he said.
He added competing with the EU was ‘better the devil you know’.
“Britain should be able to take on Ireland but I do not think we can take on New Zealand,” Dr Dobbin added.
Source: FG Insight