Blog: Sunak urged to ‘reset’ EU trade deal to invigorate new era of relationship after Brexit – Express

A new report by manufacturers’ group Make UK shows that almost half of UK manufacturers in a survey of more than 100 leading companies in the country say EU suppliers are more reluctant to do business with them post-Brexit.

The trade body is calling on Rishi Sunak to reset the UK’s relationship with the EU warning trade ties with the bloc are at risk.

The report found that a fifth of manufacturers said they had reduced the number of suppliers from the EU in the last 12 months.

It also added that Brexit cost 35 percent of the firms surveyed suppliers from the rest of the world.

Speaking in London later today, chief executive of Make UK, Stephen Phipson will say: “We need to reset our political and trading relationship with the EU which has been marked by such rancour.

“I want to applaud the positive approach taken by the prime minister which shows what can be achieved when you work pragmatically and collaboratively, rather than thumping the table or issuing threats. Hopefully the agreement reached last week will be the beginning of a new chapter.”

A Department for Business and Trade spokesperson said: “A recent poll of global CEOs found the UK ranked third for investment, demonstrating that our low-tax, high-skill economy remains highly attractive to business leaders around the world.

“The government is placing major investment in growth sectors like advanced manufacturing and life sciences, and supporting businesses further by cutting the cost of energy for our most energy intensive industries.”

The warning comes as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen unveiled the latest Brexit framework deal last week after months of intensive negotiations aimed at reducing checks on Irish Sea trade created by the contentious Northern Ireland Protocol.

While cutting back on checks required on goods destined for use in Northern Ireland arriving from Great Britain, the deal also contains a new mechanism – the so-called “Stormont brake” – that offers a minority of MLAs (30 from at least two parties) the ability to refer to the UK Government its concerns about the introduction of new EU laws in Northern Ireland.

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The Government could then potentially prevent the application of those laws in the region.

Mr Sunak has also committed to amending the 1998 Northern Ireland Act to provide further reassurance to unionists about the region’s constitutional status within the UK.

Some prominent DUP figures, including Lord Dodds and MPs Sammy Wilson and Ian Paisley, have already suggested that the deal potentially does not go far enough to address their concerns over trade and sovereignty.

The immediate future of devolution at Stormont rests on whether the DUP agree to go back into powersharing.

London and Brussels are both keen to see the institution restored ahead of next month’s landmark 25th anniversary of the Good Friday peace agreement.

The DUP has established a consultation panel to inform its deliberations on the new deal on post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland.

Former DUP leaders and first ministers Peter Robinson and Baroness Arlene Foster are among those on the eight-member panel announced by current leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson.

Sir Jeffrey has made clear that the DUP will take its time to consider the Windsor Framework before deciding whether to back it and lift its current blockade of devolution at Stormont.

He said the panel would report to him by the end of March.

Sir Jeffrey said the panel comprises individuals with “political, legal and business experience”.

Its members are DUP MP Carla Lockhart, DUP peer Lord Weir, former DUP leaders and Stormont first ministers Mr Robinson and Baroness Foster, businessman Ross Reed, lawyer John McBurney and DUP MLAs Brian Kingston and Deborah Erskine.

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