FSB NI: Withdrawal Agreement is only the end of the beginning

Press Releases 20 Dec 2019

Tina McKenzie comments following the passing of the second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement Bill

As the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement passes its second reading in the House of Commons, FSB NI Policy Chair, Tina McKenzie has said that much work will still need to be done to ensure the Northern Ireland trading arrangements are ready and fit for purpose by the end of the transition period.

Commenting, Tina McKenzie said:

“The passing of the second reading of the Withdrawal Agreement increases the likelihood that we will leave the EU before January 31st, however, that will only be the end of the beginning of the Brexit process, as we will then enter a transition period where the UK-EU future relationship will be discussed in tandem with working out the practicalities of trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

“As implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement will begin in the New Year, it is vital that the new Joint Consultative Working Group has effective representation from Northern Ireland businesses, who can advise on how the practicalities will impact the economy.

“It is crucial that the Prime Minister lives up to his commitments on the campaign trail, and that Northern Ireland’s place in the UK internal market is protected. Additional cost and complexity on east-west trade should be kept at an absolute minimum and firms must receive the support required to adapt to any changes.”