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The Dublin-based British Irish Chamber of Commerce is behind a new network to strengthen ties between UK and Irish firm post-Brexit Getty Images

A new network to link British and Irish firms in a bid to offset any shortfall in trade caused by Brexit was launched today (3 January).

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce has set up the British Irish Gateway for Trade service, which links together firms in trade associations across the UK and Ireland.

Britain is Ireland's biggest trading partner, with business between the UK and the Republic supporting 400,000 jobs across both countries and generating €60bn (£51bn, $62bn) a year, according to the joint trade body.

British Irish Chamber of Commerce director general John McGrane said: "At a time when businesses are preparing for Brexit, they appreciate a resource like British Irish Gateway which helps them to grow their business by being introduced to more customers and suppliers across the UK and Ireland."

He added: "Firms on both sides of the Irish Sea are looking for more trading opportunities and this new service supports the work of Chambers and the various state agencies to make those connections easier to find for businesses north south east and west."

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce said the new service allowed businesses to find "the trading partners they want within a trusted network of likeminded firms across the two islands".

It added the service is free to use for members of recognised trade organisations.

The British Irish Chamber of Commerce is a private sector trade body, founded in 2011 to represent businesses and employers with interests in the two islands of Great Britain and Ireland. It said its mission is to highlight, protect and grow trade between Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England.