The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) today publishes its Quarterly Economic Survey – the UK’s largest and most authoritative private sector business survey.
BCC responds to the EU-UK Joint Committee agreement in principle on NI Protocol
Commenting on the agreement in principle of the EU-UK Joint Committee to ensure the Northern Ireland protocol is fully operational as of January 1st 2021, BCC Director General Adam Marshall said:
"More detail on how to keep trade flowing smoothly in both directions between GB and NI and on both sides of the Irish Sea after the 1st of January, whatever the outcome of negotiations, is a belated but necessary step forward in providing clarity for our business communities. The devil however will be in the detail on how this operates for firms on the ground.
“This agreement must swiftly be converted into crystal-clear guidance and operating protocols so that businesses can act on it - as they have incredibly little time to prepare for the significant changes that lie ahead."
Commenting further on the agreement of a trusted trader scheme that would mean exemptions from tariffs for up to 98pc of goods flowing between Great Britain and Northern Ireland from January 1, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Ann McGregor said:
“The announcement today that the EU and UK have agreed a trusted trader scheme that would mean exemptions from tariffs for up to 98pc of goods flowing between Great Britain and Northern Ireland from January 1, as well as a grace period for export health certificates and no exit summary declarations, appears positive at first glance.
“However, the devil is in the detail and NI Chamber is very concerned about business capacity to analyse, absorb and implement actions required as details as emerge. We still have concerns about flow v compliance, the lack of a HMRC helpline to address queries as they emerge, the possible loss of access to affordable food for the Northern Ireland consumer and the fact that services have not been mentioned.”