Northern Ireland’s post-Brexit close ties with the EU have brought a business boom for a make-up entrepreneur.
Brendan McDowell, creator of BPerfect Cosmetics, said Brexit has been more beneficial than not for his brand, as more American brands are interested in his website due to NI’s access to the EU market.
Although Northern Ireland has left the European Union together with the rest of Britain, it has stayed in the bloc’s single market to dodge a controversial hard border with the Republic of Ireland.
‘We can post anywhere in Europe with no customs’
Despite the numerous countries McDowell can do business with easily post-Brexit, he said additional checks on goods from Great Britain have slowed down their transportation.
He told PA news agency: “Being in Northern Ireland in this special loophole has actually been really positive for us – we have got brands that want to now be on BPerfect for the simple reason that they are struggling to sell to the rest of Ireland, and the EU.
“PLouise, Jeffree Star were all very interested in coming on to our online platform because we can post to anywhere in Europe with no customs.
“So there are a lot of benefits that way; however, the negatives include that it is something a little bit more difficult to get goods over, it has slowed down our transport, but I would say the positives of being in the loophole that we’re in is slightly better.
“Just hoping we can get the transport side of things fixed; it’s delayed some shipments but overall it hasn’t been too damaging for us.”
Former Brexit minister David Frost admitted NI is benefitting from EU
Former Brexit minister David Frost admitted trade between Northern Ireland and Ireland has gone up since Brexit – but suggested it cannot keep benefitting from the EU’s single market, as this would hurt the UK.
Speaking on Policy Exchange’s Brexit Panel on the fringes of Tory party conference, Frost admitted supply chains are being “reordered quite quickly” and trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic has increased in both directions based on both British and Irish figures.
But he suggested things have to change: “People and businesses do respond very quickly to incentives and incidentally the other area where you see this is trade movements from Ireland across Great Britain into the rest of the EU, where the so-called ‘land bridge’ has sort of collapsed in the first nine months of this year.
“So that’s one reason why we can’t wait very long, things aren’t happening and it isn’t just theoretical.”
Frost’s comments came as Martin McTague, policy and advocacy chairman at the Federation of Small Business, warned the post-Brexit Irish trade success will “inevitably” weaken the links with Britain and “put pressure on the Union”.
“What would worry me is that you get a sort of two-speed UK where different things are going to happen in Northern Ireland to the rest of Great Britain,” McTague added.