Britain sets out law to fix N. Ireland trade

STORY: Britain is taking steps to break a deadlock with the EU over post-Brexit trade with Northern Ireland.

But it may just inflame tensions further.

Speaking in parliament on Tuesday (May 17), Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said a new law would ease the flow of trade without breaking international agreements:

“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 in its 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."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed the protocol that governs such trade in 2019.

It was meant to allow Britain to leave the EU single market without controls being reimposed on the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

In effect it created a border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK instead, something London now calls unworkable.

It’s also always been fiercely opposed by pro-union parties in Belfast.

Democratic Unionist Party leader Jeffrey Donaldson said Tuesday’s news was overdue:

“Therefore we hope to see progress on a bill in order to deal with these matters in days and weeks, not months.”

A dispute over trade arrangements has stalled power sharing between unionist and nationalist parties in Belfast.

The EU called any attempt by London to unilaterally change the protocol wholly unacceptable.

Negotiator Maros Sefcovic said Brussels would respond with all means at its disposal.

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