FT economics editor warns England’s interests may trump Derry’s post-Brexit

Chris Giles.
Chris Giles.

The economics editor of the Financial Times, Chris Giles, has warned the post-Brexit interests of England may trump those of Derry due to our greater reliance on trade with the Republic.

Mr Giles was speaking ahead of his visit to the city next month for the Derry City and Strabane District Council sponsored Northern Ireland Economic Conference at the City Hotel.

“For Derry a large part of their local economy is actually in the Republic so what is important for parts of England will be very different to their issues.

“There is also a decision to be made about what extent we stay in or out of the single market and the advantages and disadvantages of that,” said Mr Giles.

He also warned that local business people on both sides of the border will have to legislate for more stringent border controls in the wake of the UK’s exit from the EU.

While the specific detail of the new border restrictions between the UK and EU are still being agreed, Giles, who will deliver an address on what Brexit will mean for the future of the UK economy, believes greater customs controls will have the biggest impact on local trade post Brexit.

“There’s always a currency risk for Derry but I think the most important thing for you is what happens at the border,” he said. “There is definitely a risk of greater checks than those that are currently in place.

“The movement of people is a big issue at the moment and the Irish border is a way for people to enter or leave the UK.

“I think both sides will seek to avoid draconian measures, but there will need to be customs checks to ensure goods passing in each direction meet EU or UK Standards if the UK leaves the single market and tariffs may be imposed if the UK leaves the customs union.”

The Northern Ireland Economic Conference is coming to Derry for this first time and is regarded as the biggest economic analysis event on the local business calendar.

The performance and future of the regional and all island economy will be discussed at length and Giles is part of a high profile line up of speakers that includes Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and University of Ulster Professor Neil Gibson.

Limited delegate places remain available for the conference which will be held on Wednesday, October 19.

Registration and pricing information as well as a full programme is available at www.agendani.com/events.