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SBD Global/October 5, 2017/Finance

Hard Brexit Could 'Shatter Vital Links' Between U.K., Irish Horseracing Industries

A "threat hangs over Ireland’s important horseracing industry" -- Brexit, which "could shatter vital links" with the U.K., the biggest market for Irish horses and a leading racing center for Irish owners, trainers and jockeys, according to Arthur Beesley of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Ireland’s horseracing business "relies on longstanding agreements" that allow the tariff-free and "unfettered movement" of thousands of horses between the U.K. and Ireland. Britain’s exit from the EU has "called these arrangements into question, and the uncertain outlook for the Brexit negotiations in Brussels, and infighting in the British government, have plunged the industry into a state of anxiety." Horse Racing Ireland CEO Brian Kavanagh said, "The two industries are completely interlinked ... Ireland and Britain operate as one. Brexit has challenged the fundamentals we had taken for granted." From breeding to the track, racing is worth €1.84B ($2.16B) a year "to the Irish economy and supports 29,000 jobs," according to estimates by Deloitte. Ireland, therefore, "has a lot to lose from a hard Brexit that would weaken deep ties with the U.K." Kavanagh said, "In relative terms you could say the horse industry is 10 times more important to the Irish economy than to the British economy." Peter Doyle, a veteran Irish dealer who bought tens of thousands of horses for U.K. and global clients, said, "[Those] in charge are going to have to work it out. ... The Europeans don’t want it [to fail]. We don’t want it. Britain is a big trading partner as far as our industry is concerned." Industry data showed that 65% of racehorses foaled in Ireland are exported, 80% of them to the U.K. The business faces potential World Trade Organisation tariffs of up to 13.5% if there is no EU-UK trade deal (FT, 10/3).
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