13 March 2019
CBI NI Director Angela McGowan said:
“The Government’s proposals are confused at best, disingenuous at worst. There are serious questions over deliverability, and potentially consequences for the island of Ireland on smuggling and tariff proposals.
“Today’s announcement on emergency tariff measures is totally contradictory to previous UK government promises to prevent a hard border in Northern Ireland, leaving this region highly exposed both economically and politically.
"This latest proposed tariff scheme would leave Ireland with no option but to apply EU tariffs on all goods coming from the UK and therefore would require substantive checks to take place at the Irish border. Therefore, this desperate and ill-thought through trade measure will create all the conditions for a hard border in Northern Ireland.
“Today’s proposed policy also contradicts previous government promises to deliver a trade policy that works for all UK regions. The government has acknowledged that this policy will not work for Northern Ireland – leaving local industry at a huge disadvantage, creating an unlevel playing field in terms of competitiveness and leaving the region with all the problems associated with border checks and delays on exports into the Republic of Ireland.
"Reducing import tariffs so radically in just two weeks’ time will turn many businesses upside down with no time to prepare. Such a desperate trade policy proposal only serves to warn MPs across Parliament that they must immediately take a no-deal Brexit off the table and rally behind some type of EU deal fast.
“It’s quite startling that these proposals have been devised with little regard to Northern Ireland’s economy and living standards.”