By / May 7, 2020

Northern Ireland external sales and purchases of goods

Northern Ireland external sales and purchases of goods

Northern Ireland external sales and purchases of goods

At present, trade in both directions between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, Ireland and the rest of the EU (which between them account for 83 % of the region’s external trade) is essentially frictionless. Under EU trade agreements, Northern Ireland also has free trade with 37 non-EU countries.
With regard to exports, under the Protocol, Northern Ireland goods will still have unrestricted access to the region’s main export markets in the EU and Great Britain. On the other hand, they will no longer benefit from EU free trade agreements with some non-EU countries (although the UK may eventually negotiate its own agreements replacing these).
With regard to imports, EU goods will still enter Northern Ireland freely. On the other hand, imports from some non-EU countries could become more expensive, given that EU free trade agreements no longer apply. By far the biggest impact will come from additional import procedures (such as customs declarations) for goods entering from Great Britain. Although it is not yet possible to calculate exactly how much these will cost, one estimate suggests that supermarkets could end up paying thousands of pounds extra for each truck delivering British food products. Given that nearly one-third of the goods sold in Northern Ireland (and two-thirds of the region’s external purchases) originate from Great Britain, the impact on consumer prices could be considerable.


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