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Cleaver Fulton Rankin’s Manufacturing Sector team held another successful webinar this morning to discuss the post-Brexit opportunities for manufacturing businesses across Northern Ireland. The session was led by Aaron Moore, Head of the Manufacturing team who was joined by Professor David Phinnemore, Stephen Kelly and Hilary Griffith.
Professor Phinnemore, who is a leading academic expert at Queen’s University Belfast on the effects of the EU and Brexit on Northern Ireland, provided a useful overview of the implementation of the NI Protocol and a timeline of the grace periods. He highlighted that one of the main issues for manufacturing businesses in Northern Ireland going forwards, is regulatory divergence between the UK and the EU. He emphasised that the NI Protocol is likely to be here to stay and that businesses need clarity and certainty as to how it is going to work in reality.
Stephen Kelly, the Chief Executive of Manufacturing NI, offered insight into how manufacturing businesses in NI have perceived the transition period, noting that 77% had felt that it had significantly affected their business. He stated that one of the major current challenges for NI based manufactures in relation to the protocol is the completion of customs declarations, which has been an onerous process for many businesses. He described NI businesses as the rope in the “tug-of-war” between GB and EU objectives.
Hilary Griffith, Head of Cleaver Fulton Rankin’s Corporate and Commercial team, provided an overview of the key considerations for our manufacturing clients during this period. This included the benefits of carrying out a supply chain review and the necessity for employers in NI to ensure their employees have a “right to work” status following 30 June 2021. Hilary noted that the utilisation of innovation and digitalisation should be high on manufacturers’ agenda in order to streamline processes and reduce costs along with the consideration of how a green agenda could benefit manufacturers and their customers.
Please do keep an eye on our LinkedIn page for future informative events, and if you have any post-Brexit queries which concern your manufacturing business, please do not hesitate to contact Aaron Moore.