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Northern Ireland business concerns outlined to Michael Gove MP

19 March 2020

The EU Select Committee has written to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon. Michael Gove MP, outlining the concerns expressed by Northern Ireland business during the Committee's recent visit to Belfast.


During its 25 February visit to Belfast, the EU Committee met Chairs and other representatives of Committees from across the political spectrum in the Northern Ireland Assembly, business representatives and academic experts to discuss the Protocol on Ireland / Northern Ireland.

The letter

In a letter today, the EU Committee has outlined the key concerns expressed by the Northern Ireland business representatives on the Protocol, including:

  • Uncertainty - The biggest concern was uncertainty over the practical impact of the implementation of the Protocol upon businesses
  • Engagement - Several witnesses expressed deep frustration and dissatisfaction at the lack of engagement by the UK Government with the concerns of Northern Ireland businesses
  • Capability - There was concern about the lack of knowledge and understanding of how the Protocol will operate in practice
  • Time - There was significant concern over the lack of time to prepare for the Protocol to become operational
  • Goods at risk - Witnesses expressed particular concern at the implications of the Protocol's default position that goods passing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will be deemed at risk of passing into the EU Single Market unless the UK-EU Joint Committee indicates otherwise
  • 'Unfettered access' - Several witnesses remarked on the lack of clarity over the Government's commitment to 'unfettered access' for Northern Ireland products in Great Britain
  • Competitiveness - Several witnesses expressed serious concerns about the impact of the Protocol upon the competitiveness of Northern Ireland businesses

Further information

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