Northern Ireland will have an “enormous opportunity” to take advantage of post-Brexit trade deals with Canada and Japan, the Economy Minister has said.
Many products will enjoy tariff-free status.
Diane Dodds said: “That is a huge boost to the economy of Northern Ireland and the wider economy of the UK.”
Mrs Dodds was answering Stormont questions about matters like agriculture in the absence due to ill-health of agriculture minister Edwin Poots.
In October, Britain and Japan formally signed a trade agreement in the UK’s first major post-Brexit deal.
It means nearly all the UK’s exports to Japan will be tariff-free, with British tariffs on Japanese cars removed by 2026.
The crux of the matter for Northern Ireland will be making sure we are a full part of those trade dealsDiane Dodds
The UK and Canada have agreed a deal to continue trading under the same terms as the EU agreement after the Brexit transition period finishes at the end of this year.
The British Government said it paved the way for negotiations to begin next year on a new comprehensive deal with Canada.
Mrs Dodds suggested in the Stormont Assembly that could produce bespoke arrangements aimed at Northern Ireland.
She also told assembly members that Japan was an important trade partner.
“There is an enormous opportunity to take our products to that market,” she said.
“That is another extraordinarily important trade deal for the Northern Ireland economy.
“The crux of the matter for Northern Ireland will be making sure we are a full part of those trade deals, not withstanding the implications of the Northern Ireland Protocol.”