Northern Ireland manufacturers say Brexit protocol least of worries – survey | Northern Ireland

Manufacturers in Northern Ireland have ranked the post-Brexit preparations for commerce in Northern Ireland because the least of the challenges dealing with their companies, based on a quarterly trade survey, with 28% saying commerce with the EU has elevated over the past year.

The prime concern was listed as labour shortages attributable to the pandemic but additionally the tip of freedom of motion that stops EU residents dwelling in border counties within the republic of Ireland crossing into Northern Ireland for work.

“The protocol was the least of their worries,” stated Stephen Kelly, chief govt of Manufacturing Northern Ireland (MNI), which carried out the survey. While all of us get caught up within the political narrative, in business the larger issues are workers recruitment, productiveness after which the pandemic itself.

“It shows the narrative favoured by the DUP [Democratic Unionist party] and others that Northern Ireland is going to hell in a handcart because of the protocol is quite clearly not the case, quite the opposite,” Kelly added.

He stated there was a “huge uptick” within the quantity of companies accepting that the “protocol is here to stay”, however many need it to work higher by simplifications of paperwork.

The survey reveals some companies are actually having fun with a Brexit dividend, with 28% saying they’ve skilled a rise in commerce with the EU together with the republic of Ireland. Two in 5 companies additionally need the Northern Ireland govt, the equal of the federal government’s cupboard, to grab the distinctive alternatives the nation has to commerce with each the UK and the only market.

The survey comes because the international secretary, Liz Truss, who took over Brexit negotiations after the resignation of Lord Frost earlier than Christmas, holds a second day of talks with the European Commission over the protocol and wider relations with the EU. Truss is internet hosting the fee’s vice-president, Maroš Šefčovič, at Chevening House in Kent.

Sources say that the UK will proceed to press for additional compromises on the checks on items going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Businesses surveyed by MNI present that whereas it might not be a precedence concern, many are nonetheless experiencing a “negative impact” of the checks and customs controls on items crossing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. However, the portion expressing concern within the final quarter is simply over 50% down from 77% within the first quarter.

Great Britain’s readiness for the customs paperwork that applies to items “remains the big issue” as one in 5 “report their GB suppliers are unwilling to send” to Northern Ireland.

“This has remained consistent throughout 2021,” stated Kelly.

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