August 8, 2022

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Brexit tumult is radically reshaping trade on the island of Ireland

2 min read

The U.K. government’s recently announced bill to override certain aspects of the Northern Ireland protocol is casting a long shadow over the state of trading.

Paul Faith | Afp | Getty Images

DUBLIN — Amid acute political uncertainty and the upheaval of Brexit, the movement of goods on the island of Ireland has been transforming and seeing a significant boost.

Since the U.K. formally exited the EU in January 2020, firms have shifted their posture, rethinking the roads they take and the ports they use.

This has been driven by the Northern Ireland Protocol, an arrangement that allows the U.K. province to remain in the EU’s single market but requires checks on goods arriving from the rest of the country (England, Scotland and Wales). The EU’s single market seeks to guarantee the free movement of goods, capital, services, and labor within the bloc.

The recent shift can be seen in the state of trade between the Republic of Ireland, which is part of the EU, and Northern Ireland.

According to figures from Ireland’s Central Statistics Office, in the first quarter of 2022 imports from Northern Ireland grew 34% year-on-year to 294 million euros ($310 million) and exports to the north grew 49% to 368 million euros.

“What was clearly happening was that Irish buyers were moving away from GB [English, Scottish and Welsh] suppliers and continuing their trade with the U.K. by buying from Belfast rather than Birmingham,” Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Manufacturing NI, which represents industry in the region, told CNBC.

This has played out in the movement of goods like food, pharmaceuticals and manufacturing supplies over the two jurisdictions’ land border, crossing road networks as well as on to ports for further travel.

Ian Talbot, the chief executive of business group Chambers Ireland, told CNBC that the moves in trade are the result of much adapting by Irish and Northern Irish businesses after the tumult of Brexit.

“There’s no catastrophic failures anywhere. There’s no port lying…

2022-08-01 01:34:00

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