Belfast Telegraph

Business leaders 'must not fuel idea of no-deal Brexit'- CBI director

Caitriona Allis and Gareth Latimer of ACCA with CBI Northern Ireland director Angela McGowan
Caitriona Allis and Gareth Latimer of ACCA with CBI Northern Ireland director Angela McGowan

By Staff Reporter

A no-deal Brexit is simply not an option for businesses if the province is to remain viable and competitive, the director of CBI in Northern Ireland has said.

Speaking at ACCA's Business Leader's Forum in Belfast yesterday, Angela McGowan outlined what she said was the growing impact of the Brexit process on the economy and businesses in Northern Ireland.

She claimed the prevailing situation is stalling investment, contributing to problems in accessing skills and declining levels of research and development, which she predicted will negatively impact economic growth in the months ahead.

The CBI chief urged business leaders against fuelling what she said was the growing commentary and normalisation of a no-deal Brexit as an option.

She pointed to the negative consequences of such a scenario on the UK, Ireland and the Northern Ireland economies, as well as the border.

Ms McGowan said: "The current frictionless arrangements have allowed companies to access a larger market, integrated supply chains and pooled labour market - all of which have contributed hugely to the local economy but would be at risk in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

"If we were to have a no-deal Brexit, goods from the UK to the EU would revert to WTO rules requiring additional taxes on over 90% of exports, which would place an unacceptable toll on our business community.

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"Equally, imports from the remaining member states would suffer the same consequence, driving inflation up and reducing consumer confidence and spend," she said.

"What this will also mean for Northern Ireland businesses is administrative burdens, disruption to global supply chains, quotas and also regulation compliance.

"We must continue to be forthright in our objections to a no-deal and ensure that the business community has its voice heard on this crucial matter," the CBI chief added.

Belfast Telegraph