Responding to the announcement of the new UK approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, William Bain, Head of Trade Policy at the BCC, said:

“Businesses in both Great Britain and Northern Ireland need durable, workable, negotiated solutions on compliance with the Protocol to ensure the continued two-way flow of goods East-West and North-South. The UK Government and EU need to work together to find solutions which work for business.

“A negotiated solution on customs, agri-food and e-commerce deliveries which deals with all of the red tape issues, is preferable to unilateral actions. An SPS agreement would deal with the most obtrusive border checks and controls, but customs and e-commerce issues also need to be dealt with by the autumn.

Since January there has been continued uncertainty for businesses as various easements have been applied, followed by approaching cliff edges and then extensions of the easements. Firms need durable and consistent arrangements which provide clarity about trading conditions in the medium to long-term.

“Stronger engagement with business, particularly in Northern Ireland, must be central to the next stage of this process if viable solutions are to be found.”

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