Euro Border Trade Blow; Ulster Companies Say Single Currency Will Block Trade with Republic

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL McKILLION

A MAJORITY of companies surveyed in Northern Ireland say currency volatility and the Republic's adoption of the euro is the biggest barrier to trading with the south.

The finding was revealed in the Annual Review of InterTradeIreland, the North-South trade and business development body.

The review, covering the year to December 2000, outlined the obstacles to increased trade.

On a macro level, poor communication infrastructure, particularly road networks, telecommunication glitches between north and south mobile phone networks and the lack of support between economic development agencies, ranked alongside the currency problem as the main barriers to business.

Seven hundred businesses were surveyed throughout last year, roughly half and half coming from each region.

InterTradeIreland does not have the remit to tackle these problems directly, but chief executive Liam Nelis said the body would continue to lobby on behalf of businesses and also encourage trade.

"Our role is to get policy makers, north and south, thinking more about the wider economic benefits of the island."

On a day-to-day basis, business people said they were frustrated most by the lack of market information and the preference of companies to service their own market. …