Belfast Telegraph

PM's deal a huge chance for all-island economy, says CBI leader

Potential: CBI president John Allan
Potential: CBI president John Allan

By John Mulgrew

There is "enormous potential" to build an all-island economy under Boris Johnson's Brexit deal, a business leader has said.

Confederation of British Industries (CBI) president John Allan, who is also chairman of Tesco, acknowledged companies had serious concerns with the Prime Minster's agreement.

He warned that the deal, in its current form, "would end decades of free and frictionless trade with our largest trading partner" and "add huge cost and complexity across some of the UK's world-leading industries".

"It falls a long way short on services, which make up just under 80% of the local economy," Mr Allan told the organisation's annual dinner in Belfast.

However, the CBI president added: "If common ground can be found on Brexit, just imagine what we could achieve with the enormous potential of an all-island economy."

"Firms have known for some time that this is just the start of years of further talks, treaties and tete-a-tetes. They've serious concerns about the current direction of the future relationship.

"Here in Northern Ireland, we need urgent clarity from the UK Government about how they intend to protect Northern Ireland's place in the internal market, because Northern Ireland businesses simply cannot afford for the next phase of Brexit to drain investment and growth at the level we've seen over the past three years," Mr Allan added.

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"By connecting road and rail across the north and south, pushing towards zero carbon and the electrification of vehicles and (developing) public infrastructure on both sides of the island... this could be our compelling vision of economic inclusion."

Belfast Telegraph

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