UK Officials Confident Next Phase of Brexit Talks to Begin in October

David Davis and Michel Barnier during Brexit negotiations

The 1998 peace deal began a process which saw the border eventually become nearly unnoticeable by those crossing between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

A government position paper said it wanted to preserve the Common Travel Area between Northern Ireland and the Republic, allowing unimpeded movement across the island.

The UK Government has proposed smaller firms involved in localised cross-border trade with the Republic should be exempted from the responsibilities.

The report also outlines Britain's ambitions for an interim arrangement: a time-limited customs based on shared external tariffs and without customs processes and duties between Britain and the EU.

"Given all this, it's hard to understand how any guarantees can be provided about the absence of physical borders or customs checkpoints, regardless of any proposed exemptions, unless a comprehensive customs agreement and single market access is delivered".

But London says the issue of how goods and people will move across the frontier can not be separated from discussion about wider customs arrangements between Britain and the European Union.

"The emphasis on the priority areas identified by the government, including the Common Travel Area, the Good Friday Agreement, North/South cooperation and avoiding a hard border, is welcome", it said in a statement before the UK's position paper was published.

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Breidthardt said on Wednesday that the European Union would "carefully study" both British proposals. One is on how it will treat confidential European Union information obtained before Brexit, and the other on how goods placed on supply chains in the European Union single market before the U.K.'s departure can still be made available afterward, two of the officials said.

Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire told the BBC that he believed that the European Union would be open to the government's proposals.

Mr McHugh said he is also prepared to represent the views of those in Northern Ireland who feel they have no voice in the Brexit debate because of the lack of government at Stormont.

GOVERNMENT Chief Whip Joe McHugh, TD, says many British politicians want to protect the peace process and says more bridges need to be built between Irish and British politicians ahead of Brexit.

"Protecting trade is vital for the United Kingdom and Ireland - in 2015 Northern Ireland sold £10.7bn of goods to Great Britain and a further £2.7bn to Ireland, while a year ago Great Britain exported £13.6bn worth of goods to Ireland, and imported £9.1bn - so we're prioritising finding a solution that protects businesses' ability to access these important markets".

It said "immigration controls are not, and never have been, exclusively about the ability to prevent and control entry at the U.K.'s physical border".

"The UK position papers published this week are a basis for negotiation but they are not the final position and we must work on all fronts to get the best possible deal for Ireland", said McHugh.


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