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Businesses must be supported to build on protections provided by Protocol - Archibald

11 February, 2021 - by Caoimhe Archibald

Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said the Economy Minister and Invest NI need to support businesses to build on the protections provided by the Protocol.

Speaking following the publication of a Manufacturing NI survey that shows most manufacturers want the Irish Protocol to work, the party's economy spokesperson said:

“80% of businesses surveyed want to see the Protocol work, and a majority supported the work ongoing to make its operation as smooth as possible.

“This survey is hard evidence that when our Economy Minister speaks of throwing out the Protocol, she and the DUP are on the wrong side of the issue as far as traders are concerned. 

“Manufacturers are looking for stability, certainty, simplicity, and affordability. We are working with them to ensure this is possible through practical solutions when it comes to implementation of new trading arrangements.

"The survey also highlighted that a quarter of businesses have reorientated supply chains locally or to the EU since Brexit came into effect.

"With that in mind it is baffling that in the Economy Department's draft budget Intertrade Ireland has been allocated the same baseline budget and no uplift to support businesses who want to reorientate and develop across the island, the minister needs to review this decision.

“There is now a need for the Economy Minister and Invest NI to provide proper assistance to businesses, while also promoting our retained free access to 450 million consumers in the EU single market.

“The North of Ireland did not vote for Brexit and the Protocol provides protections for businesses and traders here. 

"These businesses need to be supported to build on these and bring jobs and investment to the north.

“Sinn Féin will work with all parties to ensure the Protocol is implemented practically and in everyone’s interest." 

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