Irish Exporters Association will continue to support Irish exporters through ‘Brexit’ negotiations

The ‘voice’ of the Irish export industry welcomes announcement of objectives of UK in exit negotiations

Dublin, Tuesday 17th January, 2017 – The Irish Exporters Association (IEA) welcomes the keynote address by British Prime Minister Theresa May today outlining the objectives of the UK going forward in negotiations on exiting membership of the European Union, ahead of triggering Article 50 later this year.

The IEA will continue to fulfil its responsibilities to its members and support Irish exporters as we work on our member’s behalf with the Irish Government through these challenging times.

Simon McKeever, Chief Executive, Irish Exporters Association commented: “We welcome the clarity that the objectives in the 12 point plan set out by Theresa May bring. These are undoubtedly ambitious and negotiating a free trade agreement with the EU without membership of the single market will be challenging. We at the IEA look forward to seeing solutions to these objectives discussed at an EU level and the trade deal that is negotiated swiftly. We have been trading with the UK for 1,000 years and we will continue to have a strong bi-lateral trade relationship with it, albeit with potentially more costs and complications.

The IEA welcomes the prominence that relations with Ireland, Northern Ireland and in particular the Common Travel Area feature in the speech. The announcement that the UK Government will make it a priority to deliver a practical solution to maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland is an incredibly important priority for this island. Whilst this will be challenging, we urge all Irish, UK and EU stakeholders to work towards this aim.

The objective of phased implementation periods of the negotiated deal with the EU is also an important goal. This should, if agreed, minimise disruption for Irish exporters while we move from one trade agreement into another, depending on the terms. This is incredibly practical and will be good for businesses across Europe.

These are objectives set out by the UK going into their negotiations to unwind and establish new trade deals with the EU. I want to assure our members that nothing has yet been decided. Theresa May has stated that she hopes to have a deal about the UK’s future partnership with the EU negotiated within the 2 year timeframe allowed for in the Article 50 process.

The Irish government has stated that priorities for Ireland in the negotiation process are our economic and trading arrangements, the Northern Ireland Peace Process including border issues, the Common Travel Area, and the future of the European Union. We are at a point now where the UK has clearly stated its objectives going forward and the ball now lies in the EU’s court. Ireland will be in a position where it is negotiating as one of the 27 Member States firmly in, and committed to, the European Union. It is crucial that the Government acts to, and is seen to act to secure a special status with regard to our relationship with the UK given the close bi-lateral relationship between the two countries. We need to see visible action taken by this Government that demonstrates that they are fighting hard on behalf of Irish Exporters in these negotiations The Irish Exporters Association will continue to lobby government on a regional, national and international level on the issues that affect Irish exporters.”