I wrote a post last January on the agricultural implications of a British withdrawal from the EU (Brexit) for agriculture in the rest of the EU. Following submission of evidence to an Irish Parliamentary Committee on the implications of Brexit specifically for the Irish agri-food sector, I have developed the possible scenarios into a longer paper which can be downloaded here.
Although the discussion concentrates on the potential impact on the Irish agri-food sector, the early part of the paper discusses the possible alternative trade arrangements between the UK and the rest of the EU following a potential Brexit which might be of wider interest. Essentially, while I think there is a good possibility that free trade could continue, the UK would lose access to the single market which, over time, will imply higher trade costs between the UK and the rest of Europe compared to the situation where the UK would remain part of the EU.
The abstract reads:
Whether the UK should hold a referendum on continued membership of the European Union (EU) is one of the issues in its general election to be held in May 2015. A possible British withdrawal, or Brexit, would have profound implications for Ireland and particularly for its agri-food sector, given the extensive trade links between the two economies and the role played by the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy. This paper examines the consequences of a possible Brexit for the Irish agri-food sector. Much would depend on the nature of the trade arrangements that would be put in place between the UK and the EU following Brexit, and the paper contains an extensive discussion of the various options. The paper concludes that Brexit would be unambiguously negative from the perspective of both Irish producers and consumers, and recommends various ways in which the inevitable disruption might be minimised.
This post was written by Alan Matthews.