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Northern Ireland businesses are being crippled by UK-EU trading regime: Paisley


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Lorry drivers and officials talk at the DEARA site near Belfast Port (Liam McBurney/PA)

Lorry drivers and officials talk at the DEARA site near Belfast Port (Liam McBurney/PA)

Lorry drivers and officials talk at the DEARA site near Belfast Port (Liam McBurney/PA)

The new UK-EU trading regime is an "unmitigated disaster" for Northern Ireland, an MP has warned.

The Northern Ireland Protocol between the EU and UK is designed to reduce friction on trade from Great Britain to Northern Ireland following a divorce deal avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland.

The country is following the rules of the EU single market to avoid a hard Irish border and has shifted checks on food standards to Irish Sea ports. Customs declarations are also required in many cases on products coming in.

Following an economic update from Chancellor Rishi Sunak, DUP MP Ian Paisley told the Commons: "Northern Ireland is facing a double-whammy. First of all we are coping with the economic consequences of Covid - we thank the Chancellor for the help with that.

"But at the same time we're also trying to deal with a protocol that is crippling businesses in Northern Ireland. South of the border the Irish revenue authorities have said that all companies can circumvent customs to deal with this problem, while on our side of the border HMRC is increasing the red tape.

"This protocol is an unmitigated disaster. PPE equipment can no longer get into Northern Ireland. Foodstuffs can't get into Northern Ireland. Marks & Spencer have produced a list of 400 goods that they won't bring into Northern Ireland.

"We now must invoke Article 16 and I would encourage the Chancellor to do that and I'm sure Scot Nats are delighted they don't have a protocol now."

Responding, Mr Sunak said: "I know that he and other colleagues are speaking to my right honourable friend (Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove) about individual issues and I will be sure to follow-up with him later today.

"We funded with £200m a Trader Support Service which is helping businesses in Northern Ireland adjust to the new arrangements and I think 25,000 at last count had signed up, and I know the response has been pretty good but there's always more we can do."

Belfast Telegraph


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