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MacManus calls for practicality from British Government on animal product checks

2 March, 2021 - by Chris MacManus MEP

MacManus calls for practicality from British Government on animal product checks

Sinn Fein MEP for the Midlands Northwest, Chris MacManus, has called on the British Government to align its sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards with the EU. Britain’s current reluctance to do this means thousands of animal health certificates will soon be required for goods entering the North of Ireland from Britain.

MacManus commented: 

“This is a clear example where practicality must prevail. Soon, in addition to a complete ban on chilled meat products, such as sausages and minced meat, veterinary certificates will be required for a huge quantity of goods entering the north, resulting in significant cost increases inpaperwork and time. The fear is, that British suppliers would deem the market unprofitable and leave shelves empty.

The Midlands Northwest MEP acknowledged the importance of east-west trade. “An increase in north-south trade and trade within the EU, will fill most of the shortfall, but embracing friction between the two islands would be a short-sighted approach for two reasons. Firstly, Sinn Féin recognise that east-west trade is a key feature of the economy of the whole island of Ireland, and greater disruption to supply chains would affect consumers - north and south.”

“The DUP supported Brexit, against the wishes of the people in the north, despite the economic damage they knew it would do. Sinn Féin will not to do the same. We wish to see the all-Ireland economy developed, while fostering good trading relations with our closest neighbour.”

“Secondly, to expect Britain to face checks sending food to our island when we would not face reciprocal requirements is not realistic. Even though Britain recognises the EU has the highest food standards in the world, it intends new import controls from April 1. This will impact all animal products being exported from Ireland to Britain, with additional VAT rules from July 1.”

MacManus believes a reduction in bureaucracy is sensible and achievable. “We cannot reverse Brexit, but we can target points of particular friction to reach additional agreements. Britain aligning SPS checks with the EU in order to reduce red tape on both sides, would be a step in the right direction.”

“Indeed, the availability of such a deal has been reiterated by EU Commissioner Maroš Šefčovič. I am therefore calling on the British Government to express its support for an agreement.”

“A failure to do so would send a worrying message that its real desire is to lower requirements in the hope it could flood its own market with products from countries who do not operate a rigorous food standard regime, which could have the effect of crowding out higher quality produce from Ireland - both north and south.” ENDS

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