At the Club meeting Monday 21 October Club Rotarian Richard Ramsey, Ulster Bank and Angela Kerry, BDO, outlined between them the probable consequences of the latest Brexit Agreement for NI. Richard noted that the 3rd quarter has shown a worrying drop-off in economic activity but although Brexit has played a big role, this weakening activity is also part of a wider, global story of reduced growth and US trade wars. In particular however Brexit uncertainty, especially about future demand, has led to investment uncertainty. Angela also focused on the enormous uncertainty for business that Brexit has brought since June 2016 and highlighted the main features of the 3 options for NI firms.
A lively discussion session followed covering, amongst others, length of time to return to the status quo, potential upsides, cautious welcome made by business in NI, need to resolve many complex issues, length of time for trade deals to be made and if not made reverting to WTO rules end December 2020 and inability of NI manufacturers and consumers to avail of any new deal’s cheaper UK imports. There were not many conclusions as the latest Agreement is still being debated (or not) at Westminster.