The UK’s International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan says the growth in sales in the republic for local companies since the start of the protocol is “superb”.
On a visit to Northern Ireland to launch a report on digital trade, she said Lord Frost was making “slow and steady progress” in her negotiations with the EU on issues of the controversial Brexit trade arrangement.
According to the Republic’s Central Statistics Office, cross-border exports increased by 60% in the first nine months of the year.
Ms. Trevelyan said: “I think it’s fantastic, I think we all want professional growth. It’s great for jobs, for salaries, and it’s great for developing skills for the long term. Is.
“The protocol, which we all support, is meant to ensure that the Belfast Agreement is absolutely robust and well-organized.
“I want businesses in Northern Ireland to sell more to Ireland, to the rest of Great Britain, and everywhere in the world.
“What we want to do is give them the tools, the strength and the investment to reach every market they want.”
He added Lord Frost’s observation that negotiations were progressing, prompting him to comment in an interview this week “I don’t think anyone is calling Article 16 before Christmas, not at all”.
This was then denied by Downing Street, stating that there was “no timetable” for triggering Article 16.
He compared Article 16 to a “time-out bail”, which would have enabled the parties to pause. But he said both sides want a settlement.
“Like I said, I didn’t think it would start right before Christmas because Lord Frost and his counterparts are discussing what is making progress,” Ms Trevelyan said.
“That’s what everyone wants. We know that there are issues that will need to be discussed rather than an opportunity to find a solution, as Article 16 does: ‘Wait a minute, we’re really struggling here, We need to put an end to this’.
Ms Trevelyan defended the prime minister even after her chaotic speech at the CBI’s annual convention this week. He lost his train of thought and admired the virtues of the theme park Peppa Pig World.
She said: “Boris Johnson is an extraordinary leader. His passion and commitment to the country is unparalleled.
“The prime minister is completely up front and puts the country at the center for us and I am a huge supporter and I am very happy to see him do it.”
She said that she admires the references to Peppa Pig, and that the prime minister has “an extraordinary ability to synthesize, as many cartoons do, the values we have about humanity and as a society”. .
Ms. Trevelyan will attend a Board of Business meeting here today to launch a report on the potential of digital business to drive growth through the cybersecurity, fintech and creative industries.
An esports academy will also be based in Belfast, providing a support network for businesses looking to build on their business or start from scratch.
His department has opened a unit in Belfast with about six employees. The number is expected to rise to close to 80.