The recent ONS trade figures once again highlight NI’s economic reliance on the internal UK market – where trade to the rest of the United Kingdom is much greater than trade to the EU-  including the Irish Republic. 

In fact – Northern Ireland’s sales to mainland Britain are worth one-and-a-half times the value of all Northern Ireland exports – and are worth nearly four times the value of exports to the Republic.

Commenting this, UKIP Spokesman for Northern Ireland, Robert Hill said:

“Alongside the usual fear-mongering headlines –  which we’ve witnessed again today,  a number of false statistics have been used in a further attempt to try and justify the creation of a border in the Irish Sea.  Some disingenuous figures quoted have excluded billions in Northern Irish sales to the rest of the United Kingdom:  Sales which are  more than four times as much as NI sales to the Republic.   When you look at the total picture of all of Northern Ireland’s external sales – you find that 60.3% goes directly to the rest of the UK, while only 14.7% goes to the Republic.”

“Despite what we’re told by those who wish to wreck our EU Exit, or leave in name only –  it would never have been in Northern Ireland’s interests to prioritise access to the Irish Republic over access to the rest of this nation – quite apart from the obvious ramifications that would have for our historic union. Excluding the Republic –  only 8.4% of all of our exports go to the remaining EU26, compared to 16.6% which go to the rest of the world.

“If we were to listen to the local branches of team remain – Northern Ireland alone would have remained in some bizarre ‘customs arrangement’ with the EU – this would have prevented us from benefitting from future trade deals put in place by the rest of the UK.  Those on either side of the border calling for this absurdity aren’t only calling for the integrity of the United Kingdom to be put into question; they’re prioritising 23% of trade with the EU (including ROI) over the 77% of trade with the rest of the UK and elsewhere in the world.”

Another line used by some remainers this week is: ‘In the event of a no-deal Brexit, industries that have cross-border supply chains could be seriously damaged’.

Responding to this, Robert added:

“There will be minimal change. The Common Travel Area – which all agree should continue and which predates UK and Irish EU membership will continue unaffected.     In terms of this ‘damage to cross-border supply chains’ – This is yet more project fear.    Smart-checking schemes already exist elsewhere, and this is a practical option for trading –  while ensuring the integrity of the UK’s internal market. Using technology is one way of enhancing security with minimal fuss and with no new physical infrastructure.  Similar solutions have been introduced elsewhere. You can find examples at the Norway / Sweden border and the Canada / United States border where solutions have been implemented through trusted-trader schemes and the sharing of data and facilities.

*’Standards and best practices such as domestic and cross-border coordinated border management as well as trusted trader and trusted traveller programs can significantly reduce compliance requirements and make borders almost friction free… Technologies such as number plate recognition, enhanced drivers licenses and the use of smartphone apps can also have a significant impact by reducing paperwork and allowing pre- or on-arrival release.’

*“This quoted information isn’t from a Eurosceptic think-tank or a leave voting politician. This is directly from a smart border report commissioned and published by the EU itself – hardly a hotbed of optimistic EU Exit thought!    Much to disappointment of Mr. Varadkar, Mr. Barnier and remainers locally and nationally who want to use Northern Ireland as a trojan-horse to wreck Brexit:  Crucially – their own ‘smart border’ report asserts  that these solutions are applicable whatever the outcome of Mrs. May’s negotiation.  This would work either if there’s a deal –  or if we walk away free to trade with the world under WTO rules!”




European Parliament:  Smart Border 2.0: Avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland