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FTA urges key ministers to keep Irish border open

In a meeting with leading UK politicians in Northern Ireland over the weekend, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has reiterated its call for an Irish border solution that protects frictionless trading arrangements post-Brexit.

Talking to Secretary of State for Exiting the EU David Davis MP, Secretary of State for Business Greg Clark MP, and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley MP, FTA's Northern Ireland policy manager Seamus Leheny stressed that the association’s members needed trade to continue to flow freely across the border, without delays, to ensure that business can be supported on both sides of the border. 

“Logistics operators are clear that the Irish border must remain frictionless after Brexit, to ensure that trading relationships are protected and business can continue to flourish,” Leheny says.  “This weekend’s meeting gave us the chance to share the concerns of the freight and logistics sector with ministers, who were open to possible solutions which would protect the integrity of Ireland's businesses, as well as its borders.” 

During this weekend’s visit, the MPs discussed their proposed “maximum facilitiation” solution to the Irish border with Leheny and other business representatives and considered ways in which the constitutional and economic integrity of the UK could be upheld, while reinforcing commitments made to the people of Northern Ireland. 

“The Irish border situation is complicated, with physical and political constraints that need careful consideration before a workable solution can be found,” Leheny continues. “The conversations we had this weekend were a welcome opportunity to raise the concerns of the logistics industry directly with those at the negotiating table in Brussels, particularly the need to avoid infrastructure at the border, and the fact that technology at the border on vehicles will not be a workable solution. 

“Clarity over the ‘rules of origin’ for goods is vital, and despite the fact that compliance for the north-south trading route will be difficult to administer, I am confident that our message − that Ireland needs to remain open for business, with no delays at its borders − will be carried into the next round of talks with the EU.”

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