Irish business groups in no deal Brexit warning

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The UK leaves the EU in March, and the current plan is for a transition period to finish at the end of 2020

A no deal Brexit would have devastating economic consequences for the economy north and south of the Irish border, business groups have warned.

The CBI NI and the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) issued a joint statement ahead of Tuesday's vote on the Withdrawal Agreement.

They said no deal would immediately put jobs and businesses at risk.

They also said it would jeopardise years of positive economic development and integration across the island.

The groups say the agreement includes provisions to limit disruption to the all-island economy post-Brexit, including the "backstop".

A no deal outcome, they say, would result in "an immediate and unprecedented economic shock".

"Many firms across Northern Ireland simply could not cope with a no-deal Brexit," CBI NI director Angela McGowan said.

"Not only would it do significant harm to jobs, investment and living standards but it would put at risk the all-island economic model that has been an important factor in driving local prosperity."

Fergal O'Brien from IBEC said the single market had been a "game changer for the dynamic of the all-island economy".

"The withdrawal deal includes important provisions to minimise economic disruption and avoid a hard border," he said.

"A no deal outcome would profoundly exacerbate, rather than resolve the many difficult challenges that Brexit presents."

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