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Irish grocery sector could be hardest hit from Brexit – study

Irish grocery sector could be hardest hit from Brexit – study

The Republic’s grocery sector could be the hardest hit from Brexit with more than two-thirds of products on Irish supermarket shelves either manufactured in the UK or imported through Britain, a new report has revealed.

As UK cabinet ministers hold crucial talks to try and agree a Brexit strategy, the latest research suggests the administrative burden of customs checks in the event of the UK exiting the EU customs union – even if handled electronically – would be extremely disruptive for the retail sector here, resulting in increased costs, which may prompt some operators to pull out of the market.

While much of the focus to date has been on the likely fallout for Irish exports, the latest study, conducted by economists John FitzGerald and Edgar Morgenroth for the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA), examines the impact of Brexit on Irish imports.

It comes as a separate report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) highlights the exposure of Irish-owned businesses, which rely on the UK as the source of intermediate inputs, to Brexit. Currently about 26 per cent of the State’s goods imports comes from the UK either as materials to be used as inputs in Irish business or as consumer goods for the retail sector.