Deal on the Northern Ireland Protocol Possible by March
Liz Truss has promised to do everything possible to get a deal over the Northern Ireland Protocol done by March as UK-EU protocol talks resume.
The UK Foreign Secretary and the Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič have re-established talks in recent days, with the aim of resetting the fragile relationship and the hope of getting a deal by the end of March.
In a tweet dated 14 January, the Secretary said that " The meeting took place in a cordial atmosphere. They agreed that officials would meet next week in intensified talks and that the principals would meet again on 24 January. We share a desire for a positive relationship between the EU and the UK underpinned by our shared belief in freedom and democracy.”
The Brexit minister however has reiterated that Article 16 - the suspension of part of the arrangements in the Protocol - remains an option for the UK if they could not agree a solution, although the hope is to reach an agreement well ahead of the Northern Ireland Assembly election in May.
As a reminder, all goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain require a customs declaration, while food products are subject to additional checks and controls.
The UK's proposal to bypass all these checks for goods entering Northern Ireland is a simple self-certification process as long as the goods stay in Northern Ireland and are not brought into the EU market. On the other hand, the EU also recognises that the Protocol is causing difficulties and has proposed a package of measures that would limit the physical checks of goods when they enter Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
The dust has still not fully settled, and the Protocol has not yet been fully implemented, and whilst the agreement is reached the UK has continued to extend the so called “grace period” during which lesser checks apply.
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Source: HMRC, BBC, export.org and Lexology
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