Talks on how to ease trade friction in Northern Ireland while implementing the rules of the Northern Ireland Protocol seem to be making progress, although significant differences remain between the UK and the EU.
Increasing Trade Barriers
Although the protocol’s purpose if to avoid border difficulties in Ireland and to maintain the integrity of the UK’s internal market, the government has admitted that there have been obstacles for business trading from Great Britain to Northern Ireland, with customs declarations being now required for these shipments.
These new requirements have resulted in an increase of the costs for moving goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which threats to price out the UK since it is now easer for Northern Ireland companies to trade with the EU rather than with GB.
For this reason, the UK has created a plan for easing trade friction which has been now presented to the EU Commission, however, no dates have been set yet for the plan to come into action, reported BBC.
‘Joint veterinary agreement’
Irish state broadcaster RTE understands that the European Commission has already raised the idea of a joint EU UK veterinary agreement which could eliminate most Sanitary and Phytosanitary checks on goods traded with Ireland.
Nevertheless, both sides remain undecided on the kind of alignment with EU food safety to which the UK would have to agree. Nevertheless, the UK government seems to be supporting instead a ‘trusted trader scheme’ which would require British companies to be audited to prove their goods meet SPS standards and thus remove all checks and documentation.
According to The Times, in light of the rising violent tensions in Northern Ireland, the government is considering an intergovernmental talk with the Republic of Ireland to stabilise the situation.
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Source: Institute of Export, BCC, The Times, RTE