Belfast Telegraph

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No tariffs plan 'may see British firms flock to NI'

By PA Reporter

Manufacturers from Britain could rush to establish bases in Northern Ireland to avoid customs tariffs post-Brexit, a lobby group has claimed.

The UK Government has proposed smaller firms involved in localised cross-border trade with the Republic should be exempted from the responsibilities.

Manufacturing Northern Ireland said 99% of the businesses it represents had been given no idea how the suggested arrangements after March 2019 could work.

"Essentially it means that NI firms would be within the customs union whilst also being outside of the customs union as part of the UK. It could lead to a rush of Great Britain manufacturers wanting to come and set up in Northern Ireland to avoid customs requirements, but equally it could see Irish firms using Northern Ireland as a back-door to the UK market, so trade could be distorted," it said.

Government officials have said the risk of Britain or continental Europe-based firms using Irish business counterparts to avoid tariffs can be managed effectively.

Belfast Telegraph