MNI have been gauging opinions of manufacturers about their experience with the NI Protocol throughout 2021.  Earlier this month we surveyed the sector and asked about the performance of their businesses during 2021 (one full year of the Protocol’s operation) and what they would like to see now as the UK and EU restart discussions on the operation of the Protocol.

Some highlights

  1. It’s the availability of people, not the Protocol which is most exercising firms.  The Protocol ranked 4th of 4 options.
  2. Less than 1 in 4 continue to struggle with the processes in the Irish Sea.  This is down from 40% six months ago.
  3. Just over half report a negative impact in 2021, this is down from 77% in April.
  4. 1 in 6 report a positive impact.
  5. GB supplier readiness and willingness remains the big issue.  1 in 5 report their GB suppliers are unwilling to send.  This has remained consisted throughout 2021.
  6. After initial disruption, EU supply chains have recovered but more work still to be done by the EU to educate EU traders.
  7. GB sales appear to be on a par – most as expected but around 1 in 5 reporting a negative impact and 1 in 5 reporting a positive impact.
  8. 28% report an increase in sales with the EU.
  9. One third believe disruption will persist which is down around a quarter from July.
  10. There’s been a huge uptick in firms accepting that the Protocol is here but wanting it to work better through simplifications.
  11. Consistently through 2021, 1 in 5 manufacturers say they’d like the Protocol replaced (we didn’t ask with what).
  12. 2 out of 5 want the NI Executive to secure the opportunities presented by the Protocol.


The report can be viewed here: Traders Experience of the NI Protocol 1 year on

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