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Implications of Irish border arrangements on future trade policy examined

13 December 2017

The International Trade Committee holds an evidence session on the implications of possible arrangements for the Northern Ireland-Ireland border for wider UK trade policy.  


Wednesday 13 December, Grimond Room, Portcullis House

At 10.00am

  • Dr Lorand Bartels, Reader in International Law, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Sylvia de Mars, Lecturer in Law, University of Newcastle

EU negotiators and UK Government joint report

The joint report published by the EU negotiators and UK Government on 8 December recognises the challenges which the UK's withdrawal presents in relation to the island of Ireland.

It confirms the importance of respecting the provisions of the Belfast Agreement, the constitutional status of Northern Ireland and the principle of consent. The report also repeats the UK's commitment to preserving the integrity of its internal market and Northern Ireland's place within it.

In the report, the UK Government committed to “propose specific solutions to address the unique circumstances of the island of Ireland.

In the absence of agreed solutions, the United Kingdom will maintain full alignment with those rules of the Internal Market and the Customs Union which, now or in the future, support North-South cooperation, the all island economy and the protection of the 1998 [Belfast] Agreement.”

Aim of the session

With Brexit negotiations ongoing, the session will consider how suggested solutions for the border interact with the UK's obligations under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules and to what extent such solutions must be applied reciprocally at all UK borders.

The session will not aim to address the merits or otherwise of any particular solution, but will seek to understand solutions in the context of the global system of trade rules.

In so doing, the Committee is expected to consider other trading arrangements the EU has with non-EU countries and how applying these examples to Northern Ireland may impact on the UK's other borders and border processes – e.g. customs and rules of origin checks.

Further information

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