Manufacturing NI Address DEXEU Committee
Representatives from manufacturing, retail, agri-food and logistics gave evidence to the DEXEU Committee this morning on Brexit and the backstop.
The representatives made it clear that Brexit does not come cost free. In every scenario, NI firms and jobs are most impacted due to added costs and complexity. The potential of NI being outside the EU’s Customs and Single Market greatly expands the amount and types of goods which would have a significant price differential (because of tariffs and non-tarrif costs) which would be attractive to smugglers meaning a huge increase in the need for checks at the Border.
In a No Deal scenario, NI’s economy is most impacted, with a potential reduction of trade between NI and Ireland of -19.
With time running out, firms are making plans to exit the NI market, holding off investments or simply holding their head in the hands waiting for some sensible outcome from the UK and EU negotiations.
The business groups appealed for sight of an alternative UK backstop.
All the groups made it clear that they would accept the EUs backstop over the alternative of a no deal Brexit.
In a no deal outcome at the end of March, 5 months away, there has to be concern about the future viability of some parts of the agri-food sector, particularly milk, unless there are major interventions and support provided by the UK Government.
Business groups represented were Manufacturing NI, NI Retail Consortium, NI Food and Drink Association and Freight Transport Association.