A lot has been said and written recently about the issues of the Northern Ireland Protocol and how it is hampering the importing of, among other things, sausages into the country. So it was pleasing to read a more positive spin on the unique position that Northern Ireland finds itself in at this moment in time. The fact is that we can both distribute goods freely in the EU market as well as the UK market, a position that no other country has.
Unfettered Access To Both Markets
In an excellent article in the Irish Examiner Brian Keegan makes this point believing that too many are concentrating on the difficulties of the checking arrangements rather than the positives of free access to both markets. Here are some of the points he made in the article below:
–“resulted in the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol being viewed largely from the perspective of consumption, rather than from the perspective of production or opportunity.
“The North, with both the consent of the British government and the EU to avoid having a land border on this island, is a special trading zone for goods.
“Northern Ireland is both part of the EU customs and VAT union for goods, and part of the UK trade area.
“Undoubtedly, there are real difficulties for traders being created by the clumsy handling and checking arrangements in operation between Britain and Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland`s Position Of Privilege In EU Market
“Yet, by emphasising the difficulties with the importation of goods into the North, the point is being missed that goods made in Northern Ireland can freely circulate the EU market while also having free access to the British market. That is a unique position of privilege for the North.
“That privilege is particularly useful for businesses trading in goods which would otherwise attract high tariffs.
“At present, there are few better places in Europe to establish food-processing plants serving the UK market than Northern Ireland.
“The North is also particularly well suited as a distribution centre for UK goods being sold online to European consumers, and vice versa.
“The former Stormont economy minister Diane Dodds prioritised “unfettered access” for trade between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
“In the current political dialogue, “unfettered access” is a one-way street, apparently limited to viewing the North as a consumer rather than as a distributor or supplier.
“There are many regions both in Europe and, for that matter, in the UK that might cheerfully accept the privileged VAT and customs position of Northern Ireland for the sake of surrendering some of the administrative convenience that goes with it.”
Looking At The Positives
If it is at all possible it is always a good idea to look at the positives in any given situation and see how you can take advantage of those positives. So Brian Keegan is absolutely right in his observations here. Let us hope frictions at the border will be ironed out and we can all look forward to a brighter future.