Local feed businesses are having to put some purchasing decisions on hold as uncertainty continues in relation to the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the absence of a trade deal between the EU and the UK by the end of the transition period on the 31st December. 

Close to 3 million tonnes of bulk feed materials arrive at Northern Ireland’s ports each year
Close to 3 million tonnes of bulk feed materials arrive at Northern Ireland’s ports each year

With Northern Ireland still operating to EU rules after the rest of the UK has exited, import checks on many goods arriving from Great Britain will be inevitable as the UK diverges from the European Union standards and tariffs.

 “ Our traders looking to source materials and set up shipping programs for next winter don’t know if they can access UK grains without having to pay duty or what level of import inspections will apply. Opportunities to source from the cheapest origins could be missed while key questions remain unanswered” according to Robin Irvine of the Grain Trade Association.

If no deal can be agreed, tariffs of up to £60 Million could be payable on imported feed materials if they are deemed to be at risk of entering the EU (Republic of Ireland). These tariffs should be refundable at the point of consumption if it can be proved that they remain in Northern Ireland. Given that the point of consumption is on Northern Ireland’s 25,000 livestock farms this would be a massive administrative burden for which no rebate system has yet been tabled by HMRC.