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Economic Trends

Volume 737: debated on Wednesday 6 September 2023

3. What recent assessment he has made of trends in the Northern Ireland economy; and if he will make a statement. (906180)

We routinely monitor trends in the Northern Ireland economy. It has the ingredients required for economic success: exceptional talent, creativity and innovation. Although challenges persist, recent indicators suggest resilience and the potential for growth. This Government remain committed to fostering a productive environment for economic development and prosperity in Northern Ireland. I look forward to our investment summit between 12 and 13 September—next week—which is a fantastic opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland’s economic potential to the world.

I thank the Minister for that encouraging response. He will be aware that Northern Ireland’s largest trading partner by a very long way is Great Britain. It is therefore important that there is frictionless trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, so will he update the House on what discussions he has had on the future operation of the green channel?

One of our priorities now is the successful implementation of the Windsor framework and that green channel. We will continue to have conversations with colleagues in the Cabinet Office who lead the Windsor framework taskforce. I assure my hon. Friend that we are determined to ensure that that system works as seamlessly for everyone.

Will the Minister confirm that at next week’s investment conference the Government will proactively market Northern Ireland’s dual market access under the Windsor framework?

Yes, I can confirm that. I am absolutely determined that we shall do so. Indeed, next week I shall chair a session on that issue. This is not just about access as of right to the UK market and as a privilege to the EU market; it is also about being under our services regulation, which is an advantage, in combination with access to our free trade agreements, such as the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership. This is a unique opportunity in all of the world, including right across the EU, and I am convinced that he and I, and we all, should make the most of it.