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Protecting Trade is Vital

Commenting on the paper released by the UK Government outlining the UK’s approach to addressing the unique circumstances for the border, President of Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade, Michael McKeown said:

‘Trade benefits from predictability and certainty. There is a clear need to ensure that, if the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU includes leaving the Customs Union, there are alternative rules, systems and procedures put in place which will reduce uncertainty and provide scope to support economic operators in both the EU and the UK jurisdictions on this island. There is a clear wish from all of our members and stakeholders ‘not to return to the borders of the past’ and to address the unique and complex issues arising from Brexit’.

‘Terms such as ‘frictionless’ and ‘seamless’ and a ‘soft border’ can be misleading. It is important to recognise that in leaving the Customs Union it would be inevitable that there would be a move away from enjoying free movement of goods across the border. Protecting trade is vital – in 2015 Northern Ireland sold £2.7bn to Ireland. We need to prioritise finding a solution that protects businesses’ and their ability to access this important market.’

Chief Executive of Newry Chamber, Mary Meehan added, ‘We have been working closely with local and regional stakeholders as well as customs specialists in identifying some pragmatic Customs Proposals to support Northern Ireland Business post-Brexit which have been collated into a position paper. The paper sets out some creative options on customs and shows the priority we place on making progress on this’.