8th December 2017: British Irish Chamber of Commerce welcome agreement on Brexit negotiations
Businesses relieved by commitment to borderless trade on these islands
Chambers calls on negotiators to swiftly commence talks on the future trading relationship
The British Irish Chamber of Commerce has reacted to the announcement by the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, the President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker and UK Prime Minister Theresa May EU of an agreement on the first phase of Brexit negotiations, which paves the way for talks on the future trading relationship to begin.
Speaking in Brussels during the course of meeting with EU Brexit negotiators, John McGrane, Director-General of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, said:
“The British Irish Chamber of Commerce very much welcomes the overnight breakthrough in Brexit negotiations. Businesses will be relieved by the commitment of the UK to avoid a hard border with Northern Ireland by maintaining full regulatory alignment with EU Single Market and Customs Union rules.
“This is something the Chamber has long advocated and is critical if we are to avoid a significant disruption to both north-south and east-west trade from 2019 onwards. However, to provide certainty for business, the specific details of what constitutes ‘alignment’ will need to be confirmed swiftly. This is important given the reiteration that the UK will leave the Single Market and Customs Union.
“Recognition of the special status of the Common Travel Area and the assurance of the free movement of people on these islands is also to be welcomed. This will help to ensure that businesses most important resource, its people, can move unhindered across the Irish Sea and work from any corner the UK and Ireland.
“With phase one of negotiations now complete, a swift start to talks on the future trading relationship is now crucial. Having undertaken talks with EU Brexit negotiators in Brussels this week, a deep and comprehensive agreement with the UK is attainable. However, constructive engagement is going to be needed on all sides to achieve this vision.
“The Chamber is committed to working with all parties in the coming months to help reach a deal. Our recent proposal for a new Customs Arrangement between the EU and UK offers a politically ambitious but technically achievable solution that would support the unhindered trade in goods and services post-Brexit.”
Full text of the Joint report from the negotiators of the European Union and the United Kingdom Government on progress during phase 1 of negotiations under Article 50 TEU on the United Kingdom’s orderly withdrawal from the European Union available here