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Northern Ireland Protocol: UK Trade with EU

Question for Cabinet Office

UIN HL3438, tabled on 26 October 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) scale, and (2) cause, of trade difficulties at UK ports since the introduction of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

Answered on

5 November 2021

Implementation of the Protocol has led to considerable disruption in the movement of goods and clear diversion of trade. Traders of all sizes have faced additional burdens, supply chains have been disrupted, and costs increased. At least 200 companies in Great Britain are no longer servicing the Northern Ireland market.

We welcome the EU’s recognition that there are serious problems with the Protocol which need to be solved. We are currently engaged in a process of technical discussions with the European Commission in order fully to understand their proposals. However, it’s clear there is still a substantial gap between our two positions.

Governance is critical to ensuring that we have a balanced settlement that is durable in the long term. The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) sits at the apex of a system in which EU laws are imposed on NI without consent. Addressing these problems is essential in order to ensure that any agreement can be supported by all communities in Northern Ireland.

We would prefer to settle these issues consensually and reach a positive outcome through negotiations. However, we have been clear that if an agreement cannot be reached Article 16 is a legitimate safeguard provision, the conditions for the use of which have been met.

Answered by

Cabinet Office