Brexit and trade on the island of Ireland
Revue de l’OFCE, 167 (2020/3)
After decades of expansion and deepening integration in Europe, the referendum in the United Kingdom in June 2016 to leave the European Union was an unprecedented event. Amongst the many issues to be negotiated in unravelling membership, the withdrawal process has been dominated by the implications for the island of Ireland. Northern Ireland has been to the forefront as the location of the new border between the EU and a non-member state. While much of the focus has been on the political implications, this paper looks at the potential effects of Brexit on Ireland and Northern Ireland from an economic perspective. The current patterns of cross-border trade are examined and the potential impacts of Brexit discussed, depending on the extent to which it changes the economic relationship between the UK and EU and hence in the immediate neighbourhood of Ireland and Northern Ireland.