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North’s businesses want greater protocol push
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23 Aug 2022 / brexit Print

North’s businesses want greater protocol push

A group that includes many of the North’s leading business organisations has called on the EU and the UK to “redouble their efforts” to settle their differences over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Referring to the rise of inflation to a 40-year high, the Northern Ireland Business Brexit Working Group said that the North was now facing “the most difficult of winters”.

It added that the protocol issue had been dominated for too long by “inflexibility and intransigence”.

“It is our view that the scale of the current economic challenge is such that it demands a swift resolution to the impasse,” the group stated.

‘More ambition’ needed

“As a priority, any agreed outcome must protect GB-NI consumer-facing supply chains, and tackle the disproportionate burden placed on goods that are not at any material risk of entering the EU single market,” it said.

“This will require much more ambition than we have seen to date from the EU on the issues of SPS [sanitary and phytosanitary issues] and parcels in particular,” the group added.

The business bodies also warned the British government that proceeding unilaterally with the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill would create “a myriad of reputational, legal and commercial risks for many of our businesses”.

“Northern Ireland has been a top performing region in exporting goods since the EU exit, but that is now being put at risk,” they added.

“It remains our firm belief that through agreement – with ambition, flexibility and compromise from both sides – a balance between upholding much needed access to the GB market, and protecting the EU single market, is achievable.

“The EU and the UK, acting together, have a responsibility to deliver this,” the group concluded.

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