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To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many and which (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have visited the Irish border in the last 12 months; when those visits took place; and how long they spent at the border in each of those visits.
Ministers and officials from the Department at all levels have visited both Northern Ireland and Ireland regularly to gain understanding of the issues relating to the border. My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State has visited Belfast in both May and August this year, accompanied by my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. My rt. hon Friend the Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth met the Irish Minister for Business in London in June, and my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Business and Industry visited Dublin in December last year.
Officials working on Energy Networks and on Customs visit regularly, holding extensive meetings with local officials and businesses to understand in detail the relevant areas of concern, including the Single Electricity Market and cross-border trade. BEIS has built a clear picture of cross-border supply chains of a number of businesses (including SMEs) and East-West and North-South trade flows.