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We'll ensure it's business as usual right across the UK

Alok Sharma


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Seamless trade is vital for our economy, says the UK’s Business Secretary

Seamless trade is vital for our economy, says the UK’s Business Secretary

Seamless trade is vital for our economy, says the UK’s Business Secretary

For businesses in Northern Ireland, their biggest trading partners by far are in England, Scotland, and Wales.

Trade with Great Britain was worth £24bn in 2018, more than the total of all trade with other countries at £19bn, and over three times the value of trade with the Republic of Ireland at £7bn.

To guarantee our shared prosperity and drive our recovery from the impact of Coronavirus, we must continue to work together as one United Kingdom.

The UK Government has committed to guaranteeing in law unfettered access for Northern Ireland businesses to the whole UK market, as promised in the New Decade, New Approach agreement.

Our proposals for the UK internal market will extend a similar protection to Northern Ireland's services industry and its biggest market, the rest of the UK - protecting businesses from unnecessary red tape.

Seamless trade is vital for our economy, boosting business, supporting jobs, and ensuring all of us get the best deal as consumers.

When the Transition Period ends this year, powers that were previously held by the European Union in 157 policy areas will be transferred to Northern Ireland.

This wholesale transfer of power and responsibility is undoubtedly a positive moment in our shared history. However, to ensure businesses can continue to trade unhindered across the United Kingdom as they do now, we need to provide clarity over the rules that govern our economy.

An electrician in Northern Ireland, with crucial skills but different qualifications to those in England, Wales and Scotland, will still be able to work across the United Kingdom.

Our common sense proposals will bolster our shared prosperity and back the businesses driving our recovery from coronavirus. Bouncing back from this pandemic is dependent on keeping trade between different parts of the UK going as it always has done.

These proposals are designed to ensure that devolution can continue to work for everyone and that all devolved policy areas stay devolved.

But above all we are motivated by a clear and common sense goal - allowing business as usual to go on so trade can continue to flow between all nations of our UK.

Alok Sharma MP is the Business Secretary

Belfast Telegraph