ICTU makes positive & realistic proposals on trade after Brexit
15 Aug 2017
Speaking as the UK government publishes more detailed policy papers outlining its negotiating positions on Brexit, ICTU Assistant General Secretary Owen Reidy stated:
“The first paper from the Westminster government looking at future customs arrangements demonstrates yet again that even at best the future arrangements after Brexit may be less favourable than the current arrangements and at worst, the proposals are completely unrealistic.
“The issue of customs arrangements between the UK and the EU, and the issue of the border between NI and the RoI are inextricably linked. What is clear is that any type of border east/west within the UK is unacceptable and creates problems for unionism. What is also clear is that any hard border north/south is also unacceptable as its creates problems for nationalism.
“What should concern all in Northern Ireland is that both possible scenarios create problems for our society and the economy as they would affect political stability, jobs, workers and businesses.
“What Northern Ireland, the UK, the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the EU need is the softest possible Brexit (if Brexit must occur at all). The UK’s people, and their economy and freedoms, must not be punished though any Brexit agreement. The EU, if it is to survive and prosper, requires volunteers not conscripts.
“Even if the Westminster Government decides to leave both the single market and customs union, NIC-ICTU believes that the EU should ensure that a zero-tariff agreement is reached between the UK and the EU, and that the UK should maintain the CET (Common External Tariff) in its trade deals with third countries for an agreed period of time. Such an arrangement provides economic and social stability and balance required by all. This will help ensure that workers do not pay the price of Brexit.”
Details of the agreed ICTU position are available here: https://www.ictu.ie/publications/fulllist/brexit-briefing-paper-summer-2017/