Belfast Telegraph

Brexit crisis: ‘This is not the way to go... it’s not right and it’s not fair’

Case Study 2

John Graham, director of Andrew Ingredients
John Graham, director of Andrew Ingredients
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Andrew Ingredients is a wholesaler in Lisburn that supplies bakery ingredients into the Republic and Britain. The company was founded in 1945.

For its director John Graham, the proposals for avoiding a hard border by lifting tariffs for goods coming into Northern Ireland from the Republic are simply "ugly".

It imports its supplies from Britain and the European Union, so will face tariffs on its imports. The company employs around 33 people, selling ingredients to the Irish baking industry to customers of all sizes.

As a local firm supplying into the Republic, Mr Graham doesn't have much time for the plans announced yesterday, even if the aim of avoiding a hard border is laudable.

"I would say it's ill-conceived," he said.

"I think that the idea is to try and keep a soft border in Ireland, which is a good thing. But without the reciprocation from the EU to have the same tariff regime for Northern Ireland companies into the south, it's pretty ugly. It's a disadvantage to northern companies."

And he disputed the idea that the plan brought only advantages to companies in the Republic. He pointed out that some of the end-products made there for Northern Ireland could be made from goods imported from Britain, and were therefore subject to tariffs.

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"From the manufacturers' point of view, it's not fair. It's not the right solution," he added.

"It's a bit of a false choice and we shouldn't be made to choose between it. It doesn't make sense for UK or EU not to have a deal or a trading relationship. That's what I think should happen. I don't know what the shape of a deal would be, but this is not the way to go, without reciprocation from the EU trade."

Belfast Telegraph