Margaret Ritchie MP and SDLP South Down Assembly candidate Colin McGrath were told of the uncertainty and concerns created by Brexit during a recent visit Down Sauce Company, Downpatrick.
Speaking after the visit to the factory and meeting with the management team, the MP for the area said: “The uncertainty around Brexit and any new border and export arrangements that will follow from future negotiations are a real and growing concern for our local businesses in South Down.
“The food industry in South Down, given its border location, relies heavily on export opportunities to the south of Ireland. However, it is very difficult to plan ahead for the unknown and in this regard it is important that the British government at this early stage give firm undertakings in relation to their priorities for Northern Ireland export and trade arrangements with the south of Ireland and the rest of Europe.
“Down Sauce Company is a successful and determined local business and is one of the many SMEs that make up the bulk of our economy. Companies like this need to be given every support; export links must be developed; trading opportunities with the EU must be underpinned without the application of tariffs and not weakened by Brexit.”
SDLP South Down Assembly Candidate Colin McGrath described companies like Down Sauce Company as “the backbone of our local economy”.
He said: “The uncertainty posed by Brexit and the absence of strong government at Stormont with a united voice that will fight for our local export industry and build on the successes of SMEs is vital in the years ahead as we go through the process of Brexit and change in the relationships we have with our EU neighbours.
“I have been and will continue to a be a strong advocate of Europe and the need to build on export relationships.”
He added: “I want to see a government at Stormont that will safeguard our economy and stand strong against a hard border and the introduction of tariffs and other bureaucratic measures that will thwart exports and economic growth.