Britain warns of possible suspension of Northern Ireland’s Brexit agreement


Britain warned on Wednesday that unless the EU agrees to a comprehensive reform of Northern Ireland’s trade rules, it is willing to suspend a partial Brexit agreement with Brussels, which has increased tensions between the two sides.

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis told members of Congress that he wanted to negotiate a new solution with the European Union-but retained the possibility of Britain’s suspension of the Northern Ireland agreement in the Brexit agreement.

The United Kingdom hopes to cancel the inspection of most goods shipped from the United Kingdom to Northern Ireland under the agreement.

Lewis said that it is clear that “the situation exists” has justified the suspension of the agreement, but added: “We have concluded that this is not the right time to do so.”

Brandon Lewis tells MPs that he wants to negotiate a new solution with the EU © PA

Britain’s proposal to reform the operation of the protocol may be criticized in Brussels, and Joe Biden’s US government warned that it is paying close attention to ensure that any actions by the Boris Johnson administration will not endanger the peace process in Northern Ireland.

According to the agreement agreed by Johnson in 2019, all goods shipped from the UK to Northern Ireland must comply with the EU’s customs and agricultural regulations to inspect the Irish Sea. The Brexit agreement tried to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.

The Minister of the Cabinet Office, Lord David Frost, described the arrangement of the Irish Sea trade border as “unsustainable” and told MPs this week that it is necessary to “significantly reduce or eliminate the obstacles created by the Northern Ireland Agreement.”

Frost said in a speech in the House of Lords on Wednesday that the British government had tried to implement the agreement “in good faith”, but added that a new approach was needed. “In short, we can’t continue like we do now,” he told colleagues.

Frost speaks of a government Order paper Outlines a “new balance” according to which goods will be able to circulate more freely within the customs territory of the United Kingdom and ensure a complete process for products shipped to the European Union.

“The difficulties we encountered in implementing the Northern Ireland Agreement are now the main obstacle to establishing relations with the EU, which reflects our strong common interests and values,” he added.

“What we see is not that kind of relationship, but a relationship full of legal challenges, characterized by differences and distrust. We don’t want this model to be set.

According to people familiar with the matter, the UK wants Brussels to agree to a double standards system that allows products that comply with British rules to circulate freely in Northern Ireland along with products that comply with EU requirements, as long as these products are labeled for use only in the region. Understanding of the proposal.

The British proposal also includes the “honest box” method, which means that companies whose products are only sold and used in Northern Ireland should be exempt from inspection of the Irish Sea border.

The other part of the proposal will seek to eliminate any role of the European Commission or the European Court of Justice in the operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

This government document sparked a conflict between Britain and Brussels when a series of “grace periods” – exemptions from inspections for goods shipped from the UK to Northern Ireland (including frozen meat) – expired at the end of September.

The Irish Minister of European Affairs Thomas Byrne told the BBC: “We will listen carefully to the opinions of the British government.

“We are willing to discuss any creative solutions within the scope of the agreement, but we must also admit that the UK has decided to withdraw from the EU single market, apply trade rules, and apply red tape to its goods. Goods are leaving the UK and heading to the UK.”

Marks and Spencer Chairman Archie Norman warned on Monday that the company has cut Christmas products in Northern Ireland due to concerns about post-Brexit inspections.

He told the BBC that checks would mean higher prices and fewer options, and urged the adoption of “common sense enforcement methods.”

In a letter to Frost, Norman stated that the current customs arrangements are “completely unsuitable and have never been designed for a modern fresh food supply chain between closely intertwined trading partners”.



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