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The European Commission launched legal proceedings against London on March 15 for what is describes as a “deliberate” breach of international law over its unilateral decision to extend the Brexit grace period for food imports to Northern Ireland. If the issue is not resolved, the European Court of Justice may decide to introduce sanctions in the form of a daily fine. The announcement follows a decision by the UK government in early March to extend the grace period for post-Brexit agri-food movements (products of animal origin, composite products, plants etc) from the rest of the UK, transiting to Northern Ireland without official EU certification, until Oct 1. NI business groups had been pressing for an extension of the soft-touch regulatory regime on some goods—originally due to expire at the end of March—ahead of additional red tape requirements such as supermarkets producing export health certificates for all shipments of animal products under the post-Brexit Northern Ireland Protocol. [AGRAFACTS]
Glanbia announced they will be paying their farmers in Northern Ireland on milksolids, with incentives to produce higher fat and protein content. The new payments will be implemented over a four-year transition period starting April 1. Farmers supplying other Northern Ireland processors, including Dale Farm and Lakeland Dairies, are lobbying for similar moves.