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Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots MLA has met with Acting US Consul General in Belfast, Mr Bryan Wockley, to update the US administration on the implementation of the NI Protocol (NIP) and the challenges it presents to our agri-food sector in particular.

Speaking after the meeting, Minister Poots said: “I welcome the opportunity to speak with Acting US Consul General Bryan Wockley to ensure he and the new US Administration in Washington are fully apprised of the challenges faced by agri-food businesses and the public as a result of the NI Protocol.

“I highlighted the concerns I am hearing from businesses about the impact the Protocol is having and stressed that NI’s agri-food sector continues to be disproportionately affected. We need permanent solutions to the issues and I will continue to push the UK Government and EU to make sure that Northern Ireland’s businesses and people are not disadvantaged.”

Minister Poots added that he would like to see a positive outcome to ongoing UK-US trade talks as the American market is important for NI agri-food products.

He said: The US market for agri-products is very important to us – we have been sending our high quality dairy and pork products to the US for many years and I welcome the decision last year by the US authorities to grant market access to two NI beef processors.

“I am keen to see a continuation of the UK-US trade talks which will bring much needed confidence at a time of great uncertainty for the NI agri-food industry.”