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Ardagh Metal makes $200 million post-Brexit investment in North Ireland

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DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ardagh Metal Packaging announced plans to build a $200 million beverage can plant in Northern Ireland on Friday, one of the biggest investments in the British-run region under its bespoke post-Brexit trading arrangements.

While part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland has stayed in the European Union's single market for goods since Britain's departure last year, meaning its exports to the rest of the 27-nation bloc face no customs checks, tariffs or paperwork.

Ardagh Metal, one of the world's biggest packaging companies and a subsidiary of Luxembourg-based Ardagh Group, said the plant would service the growing needs of its customers, including Coca-Cola, in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe.

"We are delighted to be investing in Northern Ireland supporting our clients' sustainability needs by locating capacity closer to our end customers," Ardagh Metal Chief Executive Oliver Graham said in a statement.

The top EU official overseeing the implementation of the so-called Northern Ireland protocol said earlier on Friday that the unparalleled access it grants to two of the world's largest markets should make Northern Ireland "a powerful magnet" for foreign direct invest.

European Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic was speaking ahead of talks with his British counterpart in Brussels to seek to break an impasse over the full implementation of the protocol.

The checks on the movement of goods to Northern Ireland from mainland Britain as a result of maintaining access to the EU's single market has disturbed some trade from the rest of the United Kingdom and angered the province's pro-British unionists.

The EU has offered Britain a package of measures to ease the transit of goods to Northern Ireland but London says significant differences remain between the two sides' positions.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Mark Potter)

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