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New Brexit law threatens original withdrawal agreement

Monday, 07 September 2020 5:50 PM  [ Last Update: Monday, 07 September 2020 5:50 PM ]
 

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

The UK and EU appear to be headed for an acrimonious divorce

The British government’s plan to introduce a new Brexit-related law has incensed the European Union (EU) which continues to insist on the full implementation of the original withdrawal agreement.

The new law – which is set to be unveiled on Wednesday (September 09) – revolves around post-Brexit customs plans with the EU in relation to trading arrangements affecting Northern Ireland.

The government has strenuously denied the proposed new law runs the risk of “tearing up” the existing treaty.

The UK and the EU agreed in 2019 on the terms of Britain’s exit from the union, including on the vexed issue of future trading arrangements in Northern Ireland.

The text of the proposed law – reportedly called the UK Internal Market Bill – has yet to be published so there is some confusion over the full extent of its impact on the original withdrawal agreement.

But according to multiple reports the new law would allow ministers to unilaterally decide which goods were “at risk” of entering the EU when passing between Britain and Northern Ireland, and hence potentially subject to EU tariffs.

In addition, the new law gives ministers the power to scrap export declarations on goods moving from Northern Ireland to Britain.  

For its part, EU leaders insist that the “full implementation” of the original withdrawal agreement is a “prerequisite for the negotiations on the future partnership” between the two sides.

The introduction of this controversial new law takes place against the backdrop of strained negotiations between the UK and the EU over a post-Brexit trade deal.

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has previously said that if a deal is not reached by the European Council meeting on October 15, then both sides should “move on”, thus firmly indicating that the UK will fall back on its default position of trading with the EU on international trading terms.

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