UK secretary of state for Northern Ireland James Brokenshire discussed Brexit with chambers of commerce from across Ireland at a British Irish Chamber of Commerce working lunch at KPMG in Dublin yesterday.
The UK/EU departure talks were top of the agenda, with Brokenshire reiterating the UK government’s commitment to “frictionless trade on the island of Ireland” as he explained his government’s negotiating position.
“The British Irish Chamber is delighted to be hosting secretary of state Brokenshire in Dublin today,” said director general John McGrane. “Given the number of political engagements the secretary of state has to keep while in town, I think his availability to meet with business groups shows the importance of maintaining the vital trade network that exists on the island.
“The chamber welcomed the publication of last week’s papers and especially the commitment shown by the UK government to borderless trade on the island of Ireland and the continuation of the Common Travel Area,” he said. “While we are happy to see suggestions put forward to maintain both of these, we are still cautious about the feasibility of these proposals and will continue to positively engage with governments on both sides to ensure that a solution is found that works for all concerned.”
Trade between Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England is wroth €60bn per annum and supports 400,000 jobs according to the chamber, which represents businesses and employers with interests in both islands.
Shaun Murphy, managing partner of KPMG noted that “there is an urgent need to forge both practical and realistic solutions to address the Brexit issues of relevance to Ireland – North and South – and we welcome all efforts to resolve these matters in the interests of business across the island.”