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Yes, and given that a lot of Ireland's exports are food and agricultural products, subject to the highest WTO tariffs, and produced in the more economically vulnerable rural parts of the country, the political and economic impact will be more magnified still.

But don't forget that less than 100 years ago Ireland fought an economic war with the UK, with devastating economic consequences, and persisted because it prized it's political independence even more highly. Ireland's trade dependence on the UK has already reduced from 70% of all trade at EU accession in 1973 to about 14% now and Brexit will accelerate that trend.

So while a no deal Brexit will be extremely disruptive, to an extent it is only accelerating pre-existing policies and trends, and slowing down an economy which is at risk of over-heating now. Don't underestimate the risk of both sides digging in on this, with a virtual trade war the result. If I could, I'd be buying Aldi and Lidl shares right now (and selling TESCO) on the assumption that their supply chains are less UK dependent.

Boris may be successfully riding a wave of English nationalism at the moment, but he should think carefully about arousing an Irish one. Ireland is the only EU country where the UK still has a significant trading surplus, and it's economy is no longer the UK dependent minnow it once was.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jul 11th, 2019 at 10:58:01 AM EST
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