Only BBC Northern Ireland is reporting this. It’s nowhere else, England, Wales, Scotland, even on business pages yet the implications for Scotland and Ayrshire, in particular, are worrying. These extracts are the key points:
A trade expert [Professor Alan Winters director of the UK Trade Policy Observatory] has suggested more than 60% of goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain could be subject to tariffs under the Brexit deal. Northern Ireland would remain part of the UK’s customs territory under the deal. But goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain and deemed at risk of being moved to the Republic of Ireland would be subject to EU tariffs. He added that the deal is likely to lead to Northern Irish firms re-orientating supply chains away from Great Britain in favour of the Republic of Ireland.
To put it simply, Prof Winters is suggesting that Scottish suppliers which currently sell to Northern Ireland companies would have an EU tariff added to their costs, making their produce more expensive, and that those Northern Irish companies would switch to buying from suppliers in the Republic of Ireland.
Much of Northern Ireland’s trade is, of course, through the ports of South-West Scotland. Ayrshire trade data don’t seem to be available but:
Cairnryan/Loch Ryan is Scotland’s main port for carrying goods and passengers to Northern Ireland. Trunk road links to the port (A77 and A75) carry an estimated £67 million worth of goods per day.
Both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland remain core trading partners with Scotland. In 2017 nearly £1.3 billion of exports went to the Republic alone accounting for 4.5% of Scotland’s total exports. A proportion of these goods would have been transported via the 13 daily sailings from Cairnryan / Loch Ryan.