News // 12 April 2019

Joint Business Council Welcomes Brexit Extension

The Ibec/CBI Joint Business Council (JBC) today welcomed the European Council decision to extend the Brexit deadline until October 31st to avoid a ‘no deal’ UK exit.

Leaving the EU without a deal would have immediately jeopardised years of positive economic development and integration across the island. The JBC, which is the voice of business across Ireland and Northern Ireland, reasserted its view that the withdrawal Agreement is an essential step towards an orderly UK exit, which protects jobs and safeguards the Good Friday Agreement.

The JBC said many businesses had already incurred massive costs due to Brexit contingency planning and these would continue to escalate due to ongoing uncertainty. It said the fallout of Brexit would demand new measures to boost investment in the all-island economy and new ways to support all-island political and commercial cooperation into the future.

Ongoing consultation with the all island business community will be an important component of future governance structures needed to underpin the implementation of agreed post-Brexit arrangements.

Ibec Director of Policy and Public Affairs Fergal O’Brien said:

“Protecting the achievements of the Good Friday Agreement and the resulting all-island economic benefits remains paramount. The Withdrawal Agreement includes important provisions to minimise economic disruption and avoid a hard border and must remain a core part of any deal.”

Commenting on developments, CBI NI Director Angela McGowan said:

“This new extension means that an imminent economic crisis has been averted, but political compromise and a fresh approach are needed. More of the same would just mean more chaos this autumn.

“Northern Ireland businesses will now be adjusting their no deal plans, not cancelling them.

“The impact that Brexit uncertainty is having on business investment is clear, in the coming months rebuilding confidence and boosting investment will be critical to support the all-island economy.

“No deal brings unnecessary risk to the Good Friday Agreement, which has been the foundation of social, economic and political progress.  Cross party collaboration must happen now to end the crisis.”