Business lobby wants state aid over Brexit threat

A business group is demanding an emergency fund to protect firms here from a post-Brexit trade war between the EU and the UK.

The UK-Irish Chamber of Commerce says London’s plan to scrap parts of the UK’s 2019 exit deal could spell problems for food businesses that source supplies on either side of the border.

“The UK government is acting unilaterally and we strongly oppose this as we believe it undermines the negotiating position between the EU and the UK and could – and probably would – lead to countermeasures by the European Commission,” said Paul Lynam, Director of the Political Chamber

“Then we have a revenge deal, with businesses and citizens and consumers at the center, which we can’t afford in the midst of a livelihood crisis.”

The chamber calls for an emergency fund of 100 to 200 million euros for the 2023 budget to support agricultural and food companies. That could rise to €2 billion “should we return to the Armageddon scenario of a full no-deal Brexit,” Mr Lynam said.

British lawmakers are currently debating legislation that would repeal parts of a protocol to its 2019 exit agreement.

The protocol introduced new customs controls for British firms exporting to Northern Ireland, which the UK denies are too onerous and costly.

In 2021, UK Customs handled just over a million declarations for goods brought into Northern Ireland from mainland Britain, submitted by a total of 10,400 businesses.

The UK’s Northern Ireland Protocol Act would allow firms to choose between European and UK rules when exporting to Northern Ireland and bypasses the European Court of Justice.

It passed the House of Commons before the summer but has yet to pass the Lords.

The bill comes at a time when UK inflation is above 10%, real wages are falling at a record high and the economy is expected to contract this autumn.

Risks of a Brexit trade war have increased with the expected appointment of Liz Truss as UK Prime Minister next week.

“Whoever becomes the next UK Prime Minister and whatever economic policy decisions he makes is his business,” Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said yesterday.

“But we are a small, open trade economy and we care what is happening in Washington, Brussels, London and across the European Union.

“Our main trading partners are in the European Union, the UK and the US and any change in their economic performance can of course impact our national economic outlook and our growth projections for the Irish economy.” Business lobby wants state aid over Brexit threat

Fry Electronics Team

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