Responding to the Government’s technical note on temporary customs arrangements, Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:
“Businesses are impatient to see the UK and EU move on substantive talks about the future economic relationship, so it’s essential that the ‘backstop’ is finalised as soon as possible. Our members will welcome the Government’s proposal setting out their views on what it should look like, although we note further detail is needed on the regulatory dimension.
“We were strongly supportive of the Joint Report agreed by both sides last December, and feel it is important for business certainty –particularly for our members in Northern Ireland – to have that transposed quickly into an agreed text.
“The draft from the European Commission fell short in our estimation by failing to adopt the UK-wide approach outlined in that final Joint Report, and we are glad to see the Government moving to ensure that approach is maintained. Businesses in Northern Ireland should not be faced with a choice between a border down the Irish Sea or a hard land border – even as a backstop option.
“Beyond the need for clarity on timing and implementation, it is important to ensure the avoidance of new barriers to trade for Northern Ireland with Ireland or with Great Britain. We hope this is reflected both in the backstop and the future economic partnership between the UK and the EU. Compromise must be found. There is too much at stake for businesses, communities and people’s livelihoods on the island of Ireland.”