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Government urged to repair business and trade relations with UK

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European Parliament president David Sassoli said the parliament would 'not accept any backsliding from the UK government on the commitments it has made'. Photo: Reuters

European Parliament president David Sassoli said the parliament would 'not accept any backsliding from the UK government on the commitments it has made'. Photo: Reuters

European Parliament president David Sassoli said the parliament would 'not accept any backsliding from the UK government on the commitments it has made'. Photo: Reuters

The Government should do more to repair relations with the UK post-Brexit, the vast majority of company bosses say.

In a survey by the Institute of Directors (IoD), 89pc of business leaders said the Irish Government needs to “actively improve business and trade relations with the UK”.

It mirrors a September 2019 survey result, which predates Brexit.

Two-thirds (66pc) of respondents say the Government’s handling of Brexit and Covid-19 have had a negative effect on consumer confidence.

Most respondents (57pc) see growth potential in the domestic market, with 27pc looking to the EU, 23pc to the UK and 17pc to the US.

But business leaders are split over whether the EU-UK trade deal brings clarity to post-Brexit relations, with 43pc saying that it does, 39pc believing it does not and 19pc unsure.

“Business leaders still feel there is scope for improving relations,” said IoD chief executive Maura Quinn. “This is especially important in a context where there is an increase in the number of business leaders who anticipate opportunities for growth in the UK.”

The survey comes after the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of an EU-UK trade deal on Tuesday.

The vote ended a four-month period when the deal was provisionally applied, and came just ahead of an April 30 cliff-edge.

Simon McKeever, Chief Executive of the Irish Exporters Association, said Irish businesses were still experiencing trade disruptions due to a “lack of preparedness in the UK from officials right down to within individual businesses”.

“This is a major stumbling block to trade flows, and was particularly apparent in the first few months of this year.”

He added that “major issues remain” to be resolved, including Northern Irish businesses’ access to existing and future EU trade agreements.

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The MEPs’ vote clears the way for both sides to set up joint committees and use remedial measures, such as suspending market access, if the deal is not applied properly.

European Parliament president David Sassoli said the parliament would “not accept any backsliding from the UK government on the commitments it has made”.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said the deal had “teeth” and that she would “not hesitate” to suspend it if necessary.

The quarterly Director Sentiment Monitor was conducted in March and April, with 245 respondents.


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