Northern Ireland faces outsize risk as Brexit looms

– May 24, 2017

The U.K. vote to leave the European Union, known as Brexit, has created special challenges for Northern Ireland, the smallest of the U.K.’s four constituent countries.

Northern Ireland has a close trading relationship with EU member the Republic of Ireland, and the current open border between the two makes issues of border and customs controls more fraught than for the other three countries that make up the U.K.: England, Scotland and Wales.

Ireland accounts for 35% of Northern Irish exports, according to Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of the business-development agency Invest Northern Ireland. Another 20% goes to the rest of the EU, illustrating the degree of exposure that Northern Ireland has to the trading bloc.