NI Chamber Responds to EU Proposals on NI Protocol

14th Oct 2021

Following the EU’s proposals announced yesterday, Paul Murnaghan, President of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber), said: 

“It is positive that both sides acknowledge the problems associated with the NI Protocol and are willing to move position. Yesterday’s proposals will go some way towards reducing the complexity of the protocol and the burdens on businesses, however they are by no means enough for all businesses. The devil is in the detail or lack of it.

“For example the ‘Express lane’, which facilitates the movement of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, will see customs-related red tape cut by half – but only for those firms linked to retail and who have trusted trader status. Many businesses, especially SMEs, do not have trusted trader status and it is not only the retail sector that experiences the groupage issue – there are many parts going into production that need the barriers removed as well.

“We acknowledge that these are ultimately discussion papers and yet another phase in wider negotiations, however both sides need to reach a balanced agreement soon, focusing on removing barriers and resulting costs for businesses.

“We believe the best outcome should be centered on business, not politics, securing stable trading arrangements between the EU, Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”