17/05/2022

New Law To Be Introduced To Change NI Protocol

A new law is to be introduced to implement changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol, which will be "legal under international law", Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has announced.

NI's unionist politician have opposed the trade deal governing how goods enter NI from the rest of the UK, that was agreed by Boris Johnson with the EU following the Brexit vote in 2019.

Ms Truss said: "Our proposed solution would meet both our and the EU's original objectives for the Protocol. It would address the frictions in East-West trade, while protecting the EU Single Market and the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.

"The challenge is that this solution requires a change in the Protocol itself, as its current drafting prevents it from being implemented, but the EU's mandate does not allow the Protocol to be changed.

"This is why their current proposals are not able to address the fundamental concerns.

"In fact it is our assessment that they would go backward from the situation we have today with the standstill.

"As the Prime Minister said, our shared objective has to be to find a solution that can command the broadest possible cross-community support for years to come and protect the Belfast Good Friday Agreement in all its dimensions.
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"That is why I am announcing our intention to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to make changes to the Protocol.

"Our preference remains a negotiated solution with the EU.

"In parallel with the legislation being introduced, we remain open to further talks if we can achieve the same outcome through negotiated settlement."

Ms Truss stressed that this move was not about scrapping the Protocol but to "deliver on the Protocol's objective".

She continued: "We will cement those provisions which are working in the Protocol, including the Common Travel Area, the Single Electricity Market and North-South cooperation, whilst fixing those elements that aren't: on the movement of goods, goods regulation, VAT, subsidy control, and governance.

"The Bill will put in place the necessary measures to lessen the burden on East-West trade and to ensure the people of Northern Ireland are able to access the same benefits as the people of Great Britain.

"The Bill will ensure that goods moving and staying within the UK are freed of unnecessary bureaucracy through our new 'green channel'. This respects Northern Ireland's place in the UK's customs territory and protects the UK internal market.

"At the same time, it ensures that goods destined for the EU undergo the full checks and controls applied under EU law."

More details of the proposed are to be published in the coming weeks.

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