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The DUP’s South Antrim MP Paul Girvan has pressed the Government to stick by their promises during the debate on the Trade Bill in Parliament today.

Commenting after the debate, Mr Girvan said,

‘The Trade Bill is about setting the process by which the Government and Parliament go about striking trade deals around the globe. It is also about declaring our ambition as a global nation free from the restraints of the European Union. The Government has outlined ambitious plans for expanding our free-trade access around the globe, however this mission will be greatly reduced without the inclusion of Northern Ireland business.

Last November Liz Truss, the International Trade Secretary, was emphatic when responding to me in Parliament that Northern Ireland would be able to fully benefit from any future trade deals that the Government would make. This came as a great source of assurance to exporting businesses in Northern Ireland. The Prime Minister also made promises of unfettered access for Northern Ireland business both-ways between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

The disruption so far caused by the Northern Ireland Protocol has taken the shine of both promises.

We know that there are big opportunities ahead for Northern Ireland industries but the Government must first address the challenges whether that is steel tariffs, groupage, second-hand VAT on cars or confusion amongst suppliers in GB about how to trade with Northern Ireland.

Agri-food companies are already getting unprecedented access to the US beef markets and our manufactured goods are in demand across the globe. The Government has to back up their promises with action. Without action the Government’s promises will ring hollow for Northern Ireland.”

Note to editors

Commons debate on Lord’s Amendments to Trade Bill 19/01/2021. Answer by Liz Truss – November 19th 2020.