Thu 4th Aug 2016
August 2016: Post Brexit vote – assessing the impact
After the shock of the Brexit vote comes consideration of the implications and businesses across the UK, including here in Northern Ireland, are beginning to assess the impact of this new political scenario, in the short, medium and longer term. Of course, at this early post vote and pre-negotiation stage there is just so much that we do not yet know. Indeed it is far from certain when exactly serious negotiations with the European Union will begin, never mind when and how they will conclude.
Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry believes that our own political leaders have a crucial role to play in securing the best possible outcome for our local businesses. That means moving on from the different position the parties took into the referendum campaign and putting NI plc at the centre of the post Brexit political dispensation.
New trade deals will take a long time to be worked out, and the negotiations will be complex and detailed. Northern Ireland needs a united voice at the table in order to safeguard and promote our ability to trade with our neighbours and to take account of our unique position as the one UK region with a land border with the EU.
We have long championed export as a means to support economic growth for Northern Ireland businesses large and small and across all sectors. As a Chamber we fully support freedom of movement and freedom of trade and we want to see these remaining as a key tenet of our ongoing post Brexit relationship with our European neighbours. The population across Europe and in particular the Republic of Ireland is too important a market for our products and services to restrict.
Research & Development has played a key role in driving the growth of our specialised sectors in particular, much of it funded by the EU. NI Chamber takes heart from commitments already made that current letters of offer for funding will be met pending the UK’s exit. However, in the longer term, the question is will the national UK Government stand by and assure that current EU R&D funding levels are maintained?
Above all Northern Ireland businesses need information on what is happening at the moment and what is likely to happen in the future, both in terms of how the new relationship will be formed but also in regard to the logistics of the discussions. The private sector locally will want a say and an assurance that their voice will be heard. That can only come from our own political representatives and we are ready to work with them to protect the interests of Northern Ireland as far and as long as possible.