Thursday 17 October 2019

Brexit and economic links on agenda for talks between Donohoe and UK Chancellor

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe addressing the DCU Brexit Institute
Photo credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe addressing the DCU Brexit Institute Photo credit: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Cormac McQuinn and Donal O'Donovan

BREXIT and maintaining strong economic links between Ireland and the UK are on the agenda for talks between Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe and his UK counterpart today.

Mr Donohoe is meeting the British Chancellor Sajid Javid in Dublin this afternoon, the third time the pair have met in the last two months.

They are to discuss Brexit, though Mr Donohoe has stressed that negotiations on the looming UK departure from the EU are between the London government and Brussels.

A statement released ahead of the meeting said the frequency of the meetings between Mr Donohoe and Mr Javid reflects the importance of economic relations between Ireland and the UK.

It pointed out that more than €1.3bn worth of goods and services are traded between the two countries every week.

Speaking before the meeting Mr Donohoe said: "Our meeting is an opportunity to exchange perspectives on Brexit and the Withdrawal Agreement and to hear the views of our close friends and neighbours, while recognising that any negotiations are between the United Kingdom and the [EU] Taskforce.

He said the meeting is "an opportunity to further deepen engagement and to understand each other’s viewpoints."

He added: "Brexit will bring challenges for the UK and for Ireland, but I look forward to seeing our relationship grow and strengthen in the coming years.”

Mr Javid said: “Ireland is an essential partner for the United Kingdom, and I am determined that we maintain and enhance this relationship as we leave the EU.

“Our discussions today will also help improve our mutual understanding of the issues facing the UK and Ireland – and better understanding leads to better outcomes."

He also said: "Both countries remain steadfast in our commitment to upholding the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement as the UK leaves the EU on October 31.”

In a crash out Brexit EU exports to the UK would slump by an average 16pc, with Ireland most affected, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a member organisation for rich economies.

Irish goods exports to the UK were €14bn last year – a decline of 16pc would mean €2.24bn less sales. That does not include services exports and the data suggests the Irish exports decline would be greater than the EU average.

Ireland would also face a rise in government borrowing 2 ½ greater than other EU members.

The OECD slashed its growth forecasts on Thursday. The trade war between the United States and China has already plunged global growth to its lowest levels since the financial crisis a decade ago, the OECD said, and the economy now risks sinking into a prolonged low-growth phase.

Global economic growth will slow to 2.9pc this year and 3pc in 2020, the OECD said.

The OECD forecast UK growth of 1pc in 2019 and 0.9pc in 2020, if there is a smoothly EU exit with a transition period. In a crash out Brexit UK growth will be 2pc lower over the next two years.

Online Editors

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