Businesses in Northern Ireland need certainty in an uncertain time, Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has said.
The East Antrim MLA was speaking after the Assembly backed an Alliance amendment to a motion on the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, calling on the UK Government and EU to work constructively within the context of the Northern Ireland Protocol to make its implementation as light touch as possible.
“There is still much needs to be defined by both the UK Government and the EU on
what shape future arrangements will take,” he said.
“Businesses are crying out for certainty on what the rules and requirements will be on the movement of goods across the UK and Ireland. The power to implement a light touch, mutually beneficial and lower friction system is entirely within the hands of both, while avoiding an unnecessarily heavy burden on businesses and our community.
“The protocol is not ideal but it is the outcome of the UK Government’s desire to break the country off from the EU in almost all ways possible. The Government, which appears unable to reconcile its desired outcome with the world today, is taking a chaotic and confusing approach to negotiations, with contradictory and unrealistic aims.
“We need to leave these manoeuvrings and negotiating tactics behind. Businesses need certainty in an uncertain time, and a multitude of serious concerns still face us. Unfortunately, Brexit is happening to us whether we like it or not, therefore the Protocol must be implemented. However, arrangements need to be in place well before the end of the year, to give businesses certainty and ensure a culture of compliance from day one. We must do all in our power to prevent a chaotic end to the transition period for Northern Ireland.”