BRITISH businesses will suffer as the UK becomes “flooded” by EU produce if Theresa May enacts her no deal Brexit tariff plan, Ireland has warned.
A furious source in Dublin hit out at the Government’s new tariff scheme which was unveiled in the wake of Mrs May’s second crushing Brexit deal defeat. Under the scheme announced this morning, the Government has promised a “temporary approach to checks, processes and tariffs” in order to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. To do so, Britain will not introduce any new checks or controls on goods crossing the land border meaning there will be no customs requirements on “nearly all goods”.
Goods going directly from the Republic of Ireland to the UK, for example by boat from ports in Dublin or Rosslare to Britain, would still be subject to WTO tariffs.
The Government confirmed any new measures would only be introduced to protect Northern Irish businesses, ensure compliance with international legal obligations and uphold the biosecurity of the island.
However the Irish government source said Britain must “wake up” to the reality of EU producers sidestepping the new measures by shipping their produce to the Republic of Ireland tariff free and then simply driving their goods across the border as if the UK were still in the European Union.
The source told the Irish Independent “the UK could be flooded via Northern Ireland” with tariff free products.
He added: “Meanwhile UK produce becomes too expensive to export.”
The senior government official added: “Meanwhile UK produce becomes too expensive to export.”
The source admitted Britain would consider checks at Northern Irish ports if the problem became exasperated by smugglers but highlighted that would create an effective border between the UK and Northern Ireland, a major red line for hard Brexiteers.
He added: “If they get overwhelmed through Northern Ireland the documents say they’ll consider checks at ports.
“In other words, a customs border between Northern Ireland and mainland UK in Sammy Wilson’s constituency.
“It’s time to wake up, no one wants this.”
The UK plans protect British plans by imposing tariffs on beef, lamb, pork, poultry and some dairy products.
The Government’s plan would put tariffs on completed vehicles but would not be put on car parts imported from the EU in order to prevent disruption to supply chains.
Some ceramics, fertiliser and fuel would be subject to tariffs to protect UK manufacturers from uncompetitive practices such as state subsidies.
Goods including bananas, raw cane sugar and certain species of fish will be affected where tariffs are imposed to grant developing countries preferential access to the UK market.
A government document released today read: “The unique social, political and economic circumstances of Northern Ireland must be reflected in any arrangements that apply in a no deal scenario.
“This government is committed to the Belfast Agreement and to do everything in our power to ensure no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.”
Another Irish source said Mrs May’s new tariff plan underlines why the backstop insurance policy was necessary.
The source said: “Nobody claimed the backstop perfect.
“But anybody living in the real world can see it’s better than what they’ve thrown into the mix today.”