The UK and the European Union’s post-Brexit trade deal has bigger hang-ups than the so-called “sausage war” would have let on, a Northern Ireland retail head told MPs.
There are much larger problems that lie ahead for the trade industry, Northern Ireland Retail Consortium director Aodhan Connolly said.
Speaking at a hearing on the impacts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Connolly said: “On chilled meats, if people think that is what a trade war is they are really going to be surprised when there is an actual war. That was not a trade war, that wasn’t even a trade handbags at dawn.
“It is an emotive issue, but in trade terms, it is a peripheral issue.”
There has been mounting concerns over the past few weeks regarding the new checks at Belfast and Larne ports for products from Britain.
“We are heading towards a perfect storm in October when we will need export health certificates,” Connolly added.
“We simply don’t know if there is going to be the veterinary capacity, we simply don’t know what the cost implications of that will be.”
The retail lead cautioned that consumers in Britain are yet to see the supply chain impacts of the Brexit trade agreement.
“For the consumer in GB, they won’t really have felt any of this because those controls have not come in yet but they’ll be phased in from October.
“We’re at the end of those supply chains so there could be a knock-on there.”