Addressing MPs in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister said that the government will not be extending the Brexit transition period.
Concern has been voiced over a “low level of preparedness” among businesses in Northern Ireland just weeks before the end of the Brexit transition period.
As negotiations between the UK and EU continue, with just weeks to go until the transition period ends on December 31, departmental officials said a lack of certainty was causing frustration among businesses.
Expressing these concerns to Boris Johnson, Alliance MP Stephen Farry (North Down) asked the Prime Minister: “The Northern Ireland business community is extremely concerned that it is now impossible to be ready to fully implement the protocol from January 1.
“Their top priority is to ask the EU for an adjustment or grace period. This request is based on respect for the protocol and is not about an extension to the transition period.
“Will the Prime Minister give his support to this ask?”
Mr Johnson replied: “Of course we’re not going to extend the transition period but we want to make practical arrangements to help businesses in Northern Ireland and we’ve agreed, for instance, a one-year adjustment period so there is no disruption to the flow of medicines.
“And we’ve already launched a £200m trader support service to help agri-food businesses and others and that’s going to… more details will be announced shortly.”
On the matter of trade talks, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen told the European Parliament these are “decisive days” for negotiations with the UK on a post-Brexit trade agreement, adding: “I cannot tell you today if, in the end, there will be a deal.”
She said the bloc is “ready to be creative” to resolve the major issues of fisheries policy, governance of any deal and measures to prevent unfair competition between the UK and EU, “but we are not ready to put into question the integrity of the single market, the main safeguard for European prosperity and wealth”.
She added: “One thing is clear: whatever the outcome, there has to be and there will be a clear difference between being a full member of the European Union and just being a valued partner.”