A billion litres of Northern Ireland milk face tariffs

A billion litres of Northern Ireland milk face tariffs

One billion litres of milk produced in Northern Ireland go over the border for processing every year, according to former GAA president Peter Quinn who is now a director of Lakeland Dairies in Cavan.

“The trade is worth somewhere between €200m and €300m a year depending on price movements and currency fluctuations,” he told a Brexit Information Breakfast in Lisnaskea organised by Intertrade Ireland. “Glanbia is the biggest buyer followed by ourselves but some of it is going as far south as Wexford.”

Other speakers had told the meeting that if cross-border trade were to be conducted under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, that milk could face a 54% tariff.

“A tariff is just a price rise and we wouldn’t be buying much of it at that price,” said Quinn. “The milk is coming south because of lack of processing capacity in the north. I reckon it would take investment of €100- 200 million to install the necessary capacity. That’s equal one or two years’ profit in the sector.”

Quinn said there was no doubt that the Northern Ireland economy is more vulnerable to a tariff regime than the Republic.