Concerns that big British businesses, such as Tesco, will be deterred from trading in Northern Ireland after Brexit have been raised in the House of Lords.
Lord Kerr, the architect of article 50 which enabled the UK to leave the EU, has said the special arrangements put in place to avoid a border on the island of Ireland may be a fatal trade barrier for some companies.
Under the Northern Ireland protocol, all businesses sending goods to the region from Great Britain will have to make formal declarations for the first time, with food sellers, such as supermarkets, subject to separate checks on chilled and fresh food from January.
“How confident are you that GB businesses are just not going to write off the Northern Ireland market?” he asked the Northern Ireland minister Robin Walker, who was appearing before the Lords EU committee.
“I am very concerned,” he continued. “Are you talking to the big stores? Are you talking to the Tescos, who have an operation in Northern Ireland but all the extra costs of this, and all the [extra] bureaucracy, may make it to them seem just not worthwhile?”.