No deal Brexit ‘not an option’ says CBI chief

A no-deal Brexit is not an option for businesses in the province if the region is to remain viable and competitive the Northern Ireland director of business group the CBI has warned.

Speaking at accountancy body ACCA’s Business Leader’s Forum in Belfast on Thursday, Angela McGowan Angela outlined the growing impact that the Brexit process was having on the economy and businesses, with stalling investment, problems accessing skills and declining levels of R&D set to negatively impact upon economic growth in the months ahead.

CBI director Angela McGowan

CBI director Angela McGowan

“The current frictionless arrangements have allowed companies to access a larger market, integrated supply chains and pooled labour market – all of which have contributed hugely to the local economy but would be at risk in the case of a no-deal Brexit,” she said.

“If we were to have a no-deal, goods from the UK to the EU would revert to WTO rules requiring additional taxes on over 90% of exports, which would place an unacceptable toll on our business community.

“Equally, imports from the remaining member states would suffer the same consequence, driving inflation up and reducing consumer confidence and spend.”

“What this will also mean for Northern Ireland businesses is administrative burdens, disruption to global supply chains, quotas, and regulation compliance.

“We must continue to be forthright in our objections to a no-deal and ensure that the business community has its voice heard on this crucial matter.”