Insider Media have published their list of 100 Northern Ireland manufacturing businesses for 2021.

You can view this list here

As commentary to the list being published- Manufacturing NI CEO Stephen Kelly had the following to say:

You’ll find few who were not glad to see the back of 2020 but the ‘new year, new me’ mood didn’t last long as NI business grappled with the challenges of Covid, Christmas and Customs.

The mood was lifted a bit on Christmas Eve as the UK and EU announced they had agreement on their future relationship.  It is of course good that they reached a deal, the problem is it’s just not a very good deal.

Never before have two partners decided to make it much more difficult to do business, create more barriers to trade and add crippling costs and complexities for our job creators who generate taxes to pay for public services.

The business community were clear to both the UK and EU that there was a need for derogations, mitigations and compensation. Four months in, that call remains.

It is painful to watch the real time decline of GB exporters and others as they discover that being outside of the EUs Single Market and Customs Union isn’t the sunny uplands some promised.  Britain’s manufacturing community are being sunk by mind numbing Rules of Origin too.  Whilst exporters are getting it tough, for most businesses and consumers in GB, Brexit is yet to be visible. It won’t be until the UK introduces it’s in bound border in January 2022 that problems will be clear.

Thankfully for NI firms their sales to EU are rising at records levels as our goods continue to have the right to circulate in the EUs market and have unfettered access to the rest of the UK.

Our challenges are all on inward supply of materials and components viewed as being “at risk” (that’s on the way for GB in January) but our most recent surveying tells is that more firms are getting on top of the complexities and appealing with our politicians at home to identify and grasp the opportunities which Nis unique trading position now provides.

Despite the late deal and no detail our business community have performed heroically.  When problems strike, good people step up and there are countless examples of hauliers, retailers, manufacturers and civil servants here and in London who run towards trouble, been pragmatic and positive and are getting stuff done.

Fixes are found and delivered every day because of a commitment from business to make things work.

The last four months have been like trying to break in a new pair of shoes.  It takes time for the leather to soften and form around your feet. But sometimes your feet take new shape too.  In the meantime there can be some discomfort from the friction.  However our new shoes are bought now and we have no choice but to stick with them.

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