No physical Irish border after Brexit

The UK government has said it does not want any checkpoints between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland (RoI) following Brexit.

The government in London said on Wednesday in a policy paper that there should be no border posts or immigration checks between the British province and Ireland.

As it stands, there is complete freedom of movement between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

In a statement welcoming the publication, the Irish Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister said the paper was "timely and helpful".

View the paper Future customs arrangements: a future partnership paper.

Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament's chief Brexit negotiator, added: "To be in and out of the customs union and "invisible borders" is a fantasy". "I think the question that people in Northern Ireland and particularly those in border communities have been asking over the previous year is - what impact will this have on me, my family and my job?"

We also note that there are already a number of duty relief procedures available that look at avoiding the duty implications of goods flowing through the UK to the European Union (such as Transit, Customs Warehousing and Temporary Admission Relief) or the need to pay duty on materials imported into the UK for further processing before re-export (such as Inward Processing), and we would encourage the UK Government to consider in the first instance how they might simplify and relax the rules attached to using such duty reliefs.

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A second possibility is a highly streamlined customs arrangement that could include a cross-border trade exemption, meaning no new customs processes for smaller traders.

The document outlines a customs arrangement that would see 80% of businesses on the island of Ireland entirely exempt from any new tariffs post-Brexit. London said the exemption "would recognise the unique economic, social and cultural context of the land border and the fact that numerous movements of goods across it by smaller traders can not be properly categorised and treated as economically significant worldwide trade".

The position paper says: "When considering the nature of the CTA as a border-free zone, it is important to note that immigration controls are not, and never have been, exclusively about the ability to prevent and control entry at the UK's physical border".

"As Michel Barnier (EU chief negotiator) himself has said, the solution can not be based on a precedent so we're looking forward to seeing the EU's position paper on Ireland".

The UK and European Union should formally recognise that the citizenship rights set out in the Good Friday Agreement will continue to be upheld.

Ninety percent of its trade is cross-border - so finding a solution to the border is crucial to its survival once the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.

'Stability'Commenting on the Government's paper on future customs arrangements, NFU President Meurig Raymond said: "The NFU, along with other farming organisations, has long called for a transitional deal that maintains as free and frictionless trade in agri-food products as possible and it is pleasing to see Government recognise the concerns of the sector".

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