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The British Irish Chamber of Commerce Expresses Alarm at Northern Ireland Protocol Bill

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The British Irish Chamber of Commerce Expresses Alarm at Northern Ireland Protocol Bill

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce Expresses Alarm at Northern Ireland Protocol Bill
June 14
13:52 2022
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The British Irish Chamber of Commerce has expressed alarm at the presentation of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill by Secretary Elizabeth Truss in the House of Commons. According to the Chamber, the contents of the Bill, allowing for unilateral disapplication of the Protocol, are against the wishes and best interests of businesses across Great Britain and Ireland and pushes us further from a settled solution that will provide long term benefits not just to Northern Ireland but across the two islands.

The objective of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce is to champion the €90 billion annual trade between the UK and Ireland which directly sustains over 600,000 jobs.

John McGrane, Director General of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, said: “The content of the Bill, allowing for unilateral disapplication of the Protocol, is against the wishes and best interests of businesses across Great Britain and Ireland. It pushes use even further away from a settled solution that will provide long term benefits not just to Northern Ireland but across the two islands. We are already seeing the wholly negative consequences of the failure of the UK Government to fully implement the Protocol.”

“Foreign Direct Investment into the UK has been impacted, with international companies wary of investing due to unpredictability around the UK’s relationship with the EU and its position on International Law. The UK has been frozen out of Horizon Europe, a vital funding programme for research, with a budget of €95.5 billion.”

He added: “The Specialised Committee on Energy under the TCA is stuck in a holding pattern, while the world experiences an energy crisis, making cooperation on solutions that would be mutually beneficial impossible.”

The UK government’s proposed legislation is being billed as a last resort solution to a problem with no other remedy. There are however a number of practical solutions proposed by The British Irish Chamber of Commerce, that could be agreed through negotiation, which would alleviate the majority of frictions which have arisen under the protocol:

  • Firstly, a veterinary agreement between the UK and the EU would remove almost all physical checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain. Some checks, such as those on live animal imports pre-date Brexit anyway and irrespective are not causing any concerns.
  • Secondly, the risk principle for non-SPS goods could be inverted so that goods would be considered to not be at risk of entering the single market if destined for sale in Northern Ireland, with accompanying enforcement mechanisms.
  • Thirdly, the EU and UK have already mandated the Joint Committee to address any issues, however it must be strengthened and empowered to react to the needs of business, to simplify processes and to identify the necessary mitigations and derogations needed to ensure the freest possible flow of trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

John McGrane added: “The legislation presented in Westminster jeopardises the economy of Northern Ireland, the second-best performing region in the UK since Brexit, but it also threatens the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the millions of jobs across Great Britain and Ireland that it has protected.”

He continued: “Further delays and even deeper constitutional uncertainties now will serve only to destroy jobs in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It’s time to end the political manoeuvring and deliver for the people of both islands.”

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