The UK Government’s Bill legislation on the Northern Ireland Protocol will be a travesty for the local dairy sector, Alliance MLA John Blair has said.
The party’s agricultural spokesperson was speaking after the Government unveiled plans to override parts of the Protocol, which if enacted, would undermine Northern Ireland’s unfettered access to the EU Single Market.
“The dairy sector is an integral and important part of the local economy, providing employment for thousands of people and export sales of almost £600 million to dozens of countries,” said the South Antrim MLA.
“The Protocol allows for trade flows to continue seamlessly between Northern Ireland and the south. Unilateral action to change it will have severe implications for local dairy farmers.
“These proposed changes will impact the dairy industry specifically because it relies on UK materials, such as grain and pesticide for its feedstocks. Under a dual regulatory regime, not co-designed with the EU, they would not be recognised as produced in accordance with EU standards, and could therefore mean local dairy products are not recognised within the EU Single Market.
“This would be a travesty for dairy farmers and the wider agri-food sector.”