21st May 2020
The Government has today (Wednesday 20 May) published its approach to implementing the Northern Ireland Protocol, as part of meeting in full its obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement with the European Union.
The command paper outlines how the protocol can be implemented in a pragmatic, proportionate way: one that protects the interests of the people and economy of Northern Ireland, recognises Northern Ireland’s integral place in the United Kingdom and its internal market, provides appropriate protection for the EU Single Market, and respects the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland.
It makes clear that the UK Government’s priority will remain strengthening Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom, and above all, preserving the huge gains from the peace process and the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.
The paper also sets out four key commitments that will underpin the UK Government’s approach to implementing the Protocol:
- There will be unfettered access for Northern Ireland’s producers to the whole of the UK market and this will be delivered through legislation by the end of the year.
- No tariffs will be paid on goods that move and remain within the UK customs territory
- Implementation of the Protocol will not involve new customs infrastructure - with any processes on goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland kept to an absolute minimum so that the integrity and smooth functioning of the UK internal market is protected.
- Northern Ireland’s businesses will benefit from the lower tariffs delivered through our new Free Trade Agreements with countries like the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan - ensuring Northern Ireland firms will be able to enjoy the full benefits of the unique access they have to the GB and EU markets.
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, made a statement in the House of Commons today on the UK’s approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol. You can read this statement here.
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