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Northern Ireland's Brexit concerns 'high priority' in trade negotiations

By Rachel Martin

Published 12/08/2016

Opportunity: minister Greg Clark
Opportunity: minister Greg Clark

Northern Ireland business concerns will be given "very high" priority in Brexit negotiations, newly appointed Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark has said.

The Cabinet Minister - who was part of the EU In campaign - said he had not changed his mind on Brexit but said: "It's an opportunity - but only if we get it right".

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Clark said he had appointed a junior minister to liaise with businesses in each UK region. MP Jesse Norman, who has been assigned to the region, joined the minister on his second day on the roll in a round-table discussion with members of the marine industry at Belfast life jacket and inflatable life raft manufacturer Survitec.

Mr Clark said he had asked Mr Norman to build a relationship with Northern Ireland business people and gather feedback.

"The circumstances of particular places differ - what's needed in Northern Ireland's going to be different from what's needed in London," he said.

"I've always thought an important part of driving our economy forward is to have a big involvement of the leaders, businesses and governments of different parts of the country. Growth doesn't happen at a national level - it happens in particular places and you need to have, as you're making your policies, a real connection with local places so that they can feed in and shape our policies and I think in the past that governments of all colours have not had sufficient attention to the importance of place. It's not just true for provinces like Northern Ireland but particular towns and cities.

"I thought and argued that we would be better off as part of the European Union, but the British people made a very clear decision and as Theresa May says we have got to make it a success."

Belfast Telegraph

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