As published in the Daily Express:
FORMER Brexit negotiator David Davis was optimistic that issues surrounding Northern Ireland and shellfish exports with the EU would sort themselves out but warned it may take “years” for smooth trade to resume.
David Davis analysed the issues facing the citizens of Northern Ireland and shellfish exporters who have struggled with the new post-Brexit rules. Goods delays at Northern Ireland ports from the UK and shellfish exporters unable to export to the EU are “wrinkles” which could be fixed over the next few years according to the Conservative MP. He added the Government must target these and other industries and offer support for them until the issues are resolved.
Speaking on Sky News, host Niall Paterson asked Mr Davis: “Looking at the way that things are going at the moment with, you know, sausage passports and a border in the Irish Sea.
“Do you understand why that are some people, particularly those working in fishing and shellfish, who perhaps voted for Brexit feel slightly underserved by what is going on at the moment?”
Mr Davis replied: “Yes, I do, I mean when the new treaty was put through the house in one day the one thing I said in my speech was we need to spend a lot of time on this.
“Because it’s going to take a couple of years to work out all the wrinkles.
“And they will be worked out and we’ll get there and in the meantime, the Government must do everything possible to support industries that have got difficulties.
“Because we can make them (difficulties) more short term, but I understand entirely that people sort of assumed maybe wrongly that maybe we made it worse ourselves, that it will be all over in a day.”
“It was never going to be thus, it’s going to take a couple of years to iron out the wrinkles, I think we can iron them all out.
“I think it’s a great piece of news that David Frost is continuing on, because I think he’s done a great job, given a slightly difficult style. But yeah, I understand it but I think they’re all resolvable.”
Hauliers travelling to Northern Ireland from the UK have suffered from delays at ports as they are subject to goods checks since NI remains part of the EU Customs Union.
While some have gotten used to the new rules and paperwork, the checking of the goods is holding up lorries meaning some supermarkets in Northern Ireland wait longer for deliveries.
DUP Leader Arlene Foster added that household post had also seen delays and revealed the EU pushed for more checks at the border to resolve the problems.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove has been pushing for an extension to the Northern Ireland grace period where some goods checks are suspended.
Brexit has also caused problems for shellfish exporters who are unable to sell their hauls to Europe because of the UK’s Class B waters.
The EU does not accept any shellfish from third countries which are not caught in cleaner Class A waters.
Fishermen have the option to purify the live animals in tanks so they can sell on the continent but the move is expensive and shortens the shelf life of the fish.