The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium (NIRC) has said that it welcomes the UK Government's latest position paper on Ireland after Brexit.
"We welcome the recognition of the importance of Northern Ireland and Ireland issues and their unique situation given by both the UK Government and the EU," said NIRC director Aodhán Connolly.
"We look forward to the development of 'flexible and imaginative solutions' for the border as laid down by the European Council in their negotiating guidelines and broadly agree with the priorities of avoiding a hard border."
Connoly outlined that although the October deadline for an agreement on the Common Travel Area is to be welcomed, solutions on the movement of goods, health and on tariffs in a similarly expedited manner is needed 'well in advance of March 2019 to provide certainty for our members and for Northern Ireland consumers.'
The NIRC hightlighted that its members purchase over £1.6 billion worth of Northern Ireland's agri-food produce, around a quarter of the total output, a large percentage of which is exported to Great Britain through Ireland.
It noted that any new tariffs that emerge in a post-Brexit deal 'could lead to higher costs for consumers, both in Northern Ireland and the UK'.
"We as the retail industry, which represents over 12% of the Northern Ireland economy, stand ready to support this dialogue." Connolly said.
"We hope that both the UK government and the EU will make use of our experience and expertise in this area not just for our own industry but for the agri-food, construction and service industries whom we support, but most of all, for the hard pressed Northern Ireland consumer."
© 2017 - Checkout Magazine by Donna Ahern