The Northern Ireland Protocol has seen trade on the island of Ireland grow by 65% in 2021 and further growth must be facilitated through closer cooperation of trading agencies on this island, according to Fine Gael’s European Affairs Spokesperson.
Dublin Rathdown TD Neale Richmond said: “Over two years into Brexit, the changes in trading patterns are beginning to truly bed in. The CSO has confirmed that exports from Northern Ireland to Ireland increased by 65% in 2021, reaching a value of €3,956,000,000.
This trade increase was not just one-way, with exports from Ireland to Northern Ireland increasing by 54% in 2021 as well.
“While Brexit has been incredibly difficult for businesses on this island, North and South, this is very welcome news.
“We must remember that this movement of goods from Northern Ireland to the EU Single Market is possible only thanks to the Northern Ireland Protocol.
“Businesses and traders have shifted their trading patterns to the path of least resistance and are focusing their goods in the internal EU market.
“This is crucially important as just because North/South political engagement has been parked due to a short-sighted political decision by the DUP does not mean that we cannot continue to grow the all-island economy.
“There is clearly an appetite for businesses to grow these trading links, North/South and indeed East/West.
“With Irish imports exceeding €100 billion in 2021 for the first time, clearly this phenomenal growth has the potential to continue into the future.
“In order to maintain and indeed grow these trading links, we need to see closer cooperation between Invest NI, Inter Trade Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, the IDA as well as Chambers of Commerce across Ireland.
“Positive Brexit dividends have been few and far between and it is vital that we capitalise on them where possible. The Protocol is not only protecting Northern Ireland from the worst of Brexit, economically, but it also offers far greater potential than many would have expected.
“We must seize this opportunity to maximise trading patterns through every means possible. Put simply, the whopping 65% increase in North to South exports demands closer cooperation.” Deputy Richmond concluded.