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Foster talks up chances of US firms coming to NI after Brexit

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Construction: Workers build a temporary border control post at Larne Harbour. Shed 66 will be used to inspect animal products travelling from Britain after Brexit

Construction: Workers build a temporary border control post at Larne Harbour. Shed 66 will be used to inspect animal products travelling from Britain after Brexit

PA

Construction: Workers build a temporary border control post at Larne Harbour. Shed 66 will be used to inspect animal products travelling from Britain after Brexit

Northern Ireland will be an attractive location for US firms seeking access to EU and UK markets after Brexit, the First Minister has said.

Businesses will have unfettered access to Britain and frictionless trade with the Republic and the rest of the EU next year.

That created opportunities and benefits, DUP leader Arlene Foster said.

She added: "If businesses are from America and looking for access to the UK single market and access to the EU single market, then Northern Ireland seems to be a very good place."

Several US and multinational fintech firms already have major bases here.

Politicians and business promotion bodies have concentrated much effort on attracting inward investment from the US.

From January Northern Ireland will remain in the UK customs territory but will be able to trade freely across the border with the Irish Republic and the rest of the EU.

Under the terms of the protocol, the region has to apply EU customs rules at its ports. That means tariffs would be collected on goods moving from Britain if they were due for onward transportation to the Republic.

Work was under way yesterday in Larne to construct a temporary border control post.

The DUP opposed the protocol but Mrs Foster said Prime Minister Boris Johnson's 80-seat majority meant her MPs could not thwart the agreement.

She told the Assembly: "This First Minister will not be found wanting when there is work to do to try and mitigate against the worst excesses of the EU and the protocol."

She noted businesses here wanted secure post-Brexit access to their main market of Britain.

"Of course we will take any benefits that flow from the protocol (in access to the EU single market)," she said.

"It has been a very difficult period for us all in relation to this."

The UK and Canada have agreed a deal to continue trading under the same terms as the current EU agreement after the Brexit transition period ends.

Britain and Japan have also signed a commerce agreement where nearly all exports to Japan will be tariff-free and British levies on Japanese cars will be removed by 2026. Mrs Foster said: "It is important to look at access to UK trade deals. Those deals are beginning to become a reality."

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Conor Murphy yesterday criticised a lack of information from the UK Government around Brexit, saying it is very difficult to plan for the end of the transition period just weeks away.

"We have a weekly meeting in relation to Brexit and it is always characterised by a lack of information and a lack of certainty," he told media during a visit to Dunmurry.

"The sooner we have some certainty in relation to Brexit the better.

"There is not going to be a good outcome to Brexit, it's just the least-worst option that we are trying to get to."

The Government said last week an extra £400m would go to Northern Ireland to address the effects of Brexit on trade, but Mr Murphy said he had not yet received any detail on the funding.

"It was announced in the House of Commons and we were told the NIO was going to follow up with further announcements, so we haven't got the detail as yet," he said.

Belfast Telegraph


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