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Alternative arrangements to the backstop examined

24 June 2019

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee hears from the Alternative Arrangements Commission on the findings of their interim report on alternatives to the backstop, which was published today.


Wednesday 26 June in the Wilson Room, Portcullis House

At 9.30am

  • Frank Dunsmuir, Industry Lead for Customs and Borders, Fujitsu and Member of the Alternative Arrangements Commission Technical Panel
  • Bertrand Rager, Managing Director, Custax & Legal and Member of the Alternative Arrangements Commission Technical Panel
  • Shanker Singham, CEO, Competere and Chair of the Alternative Arrangements Commission Technical Panel

Purpose of the session

The Alternative Arrangements Commission was established in April 2019 ""to develop credible and practical Alternative Arrangements relating to the Irish Border". The Commission is made up of a cross-party Parliamentary Commission of MPs and peers, chaired by Nicky Morgan MP and Greg Hands MP, and a Technical Panel of independent experts drawn from fields including trade, customs, and law.

In its interim report published today, the Commission suggests that alternative arrangements to the backstop could be up and running in three years if preparations begin to be made now. The report suggests the use of 'Special Economic Zones', based on existing WTO exemptions, to enable cross-border trade to continue freely and respect the lives of cross-border communities. 

As part of its inquiry into the implications of the EU withdrawal deal and the backstop, the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee will take evidence from members of the Alternative Arrangements Commission about the scope, process and findings of the Commission's interim report. The Chair of the Technical Panel will also give evidence. Topics to be covered include the Commission's consultation with businesses and communities in Northern Ireland, the feasibility of implementing their proposals and whether any infrastructure would be needed at the border.

The Alternative Arrangements Commission is due to report its final proposals in July.

Further information

Image: PA