Business

Retail owners urged to give evidence to UK Trade Commission

NI Retail Consortium director Aodhán Connolly
NI Retail Consortium director Aodhán Connolly NI Retail Consortium director Aodhán Connolly

OWNERS of retail business in Northern Ireland which have been impacted by new trading arrangements with the EU and Britain are being urged to provide evidence to the cross-party Trade and Business Commission.

It is looking to hear from a wide range of people representing all four UK regions and every sector of the economy, as part of a collective response to the government’s trade agreements.

The Trade and Business Commission brings together 11 MPs from nine different parties, along with business leaders and experts, to provide independent scrutiny of the EU-UK agreement and trade deals.

NI Retail Consortium director Aodhán Connolly, who sits on the Commission as commissioner for retail and consumers, said: “Large and small retailers across Northern Ireland have had to deal with a new way of trading with Great Britain from January 1 and it is a credit retailers and our colleagues in logistics that we have been able to keep good flowing.

“All of retail have had to deal with new customs processes and others have had to find new suppliers as some GB businesses have been unprepared or unwilling to service the Northern Ireland market.

“The UK Trade and Business Commission needs to hear those stories first-hand. We need to hear the challenges facing the industry now and the concerns that retailers have for the end of the grace periods with the phasing in of new checks from October and, of course, we need to hear what is working well.

“It is imperative that Northern Ireland voices are heard on this issue and I would urge retailers and the wider business community to engage with this inquiry.”

The Commission is due to hold a live evidence session on Thursday May 27. It comes after economists told members last month that small businesses have been particularly impacted by the UK's new trading relationship with the EU.

The Commission has also heard from food industry representatives who warned that many smaller businesses in their sector are giving up on trade with Europe because of the additional paperwork and bureaucracy involved.

Business owners can submit evidence via the trade and business website, following the link here: https://www.tradeandbusiness.uk/evidence