Protocol bill risks ‘significant harm’ to economy, business leaders warn Business News

Business leaders have slammed Boris Johnson’s plan to tear up his Brexit deal by scrapping the Northern Ireland Protocol – warning the Prime Minister not to get into a ‘damaging trade war’ with the EU.

Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the government’s unilateral legislation risked “significant harm” to businesses in the UK.

“The introduction of this bill means we are now on the brink of a trade war with the EU – and that will mean further economic hardship and lower investment,” he added.

Stephen Phipson, chief executive of manufacturing body Make UK, said the government should ‘not start a trade war with the EU in the midst of a financial crisis which would hurt UK and EU businesses’.

The European Commission reacted to the publication of the Protocol Bill by announcing its intention to reopen legal action against the UK – with Vice President Maros Sefcovic hinting at possible trade retaliation to come.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said there was ‘absolutely no reason’ for the EU to be angry or retaliate against the UK, despite plans to tear up the protocol causing the outrage in bloc capitals.

Asking Brussels to trust the UK to continue to “protect” the EU single market, she told Times Radio: “Our solution does not make the situation worse for the EU. So there is absolutely no reason for the EU to react negatively to what we are doing.

But Irish Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney said the legislation would effectively ‘dismantle’ the protocol – calling it a ‘new low point’ for trust between the UK and EU.

Mr Coveney said Mr Johnson’s government “was savvy about Ireland, every EU capital, the European Commission, the White House, every friend of Britain was actually saying : ‘Please don’t do this'”.

The Foreign Secretary added: ‘Business leaders in Northern Ireland and business leaders in the UK have said please don’t do this.’

Confederation of British Industry chief Tony Danker also slammed Mr Johnson’s government for ‘grandstanding’ – warning his plan to override the protocol was already damaging investment.

The government wants to create green and red channels to differentiate UK goods for use in NI – which would be freed from bureaucracy – while controls would remain for shipments bound for onward transport and across the Irish border to Ireland. EU.

And the introduction of a dual regulatory system would allow businesses selling in Northern Ireland to choose whether they comply with EU standards, UK standards or both.

But Northern Irish business leaders have warned of the impracticality of the bill, urging Mr Johnson’s government to resume negotiations to resolve any difficulties.

Stephen Kelly of trade body Manufacturing NI told the BBC that the idea of ​​creating green and red channels “just won’t work”.

Mr Kelly said so and the dual regulatory regime would add burdens to the many businesses trading, not just with the rest of the UK – but across the open border with Ireland and the wider EU.

Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce public affairs officer Stuart Anderson said: ‘The apparent transfer of risk onto Northern Irish businesses is of particular concern.’

Referring to Mr Johnson’s government, Campbell Tweed of the National Sheep Association added: ‘I don’t think they understand border areas at all and they don’t really appreciate a lot of trade issues.’

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This notice was published: 2022-06-14 09:07:37

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