Britain mulls G-7 trade ministers meet in Northern Ireland May 26
BRITAIN has proposed holding Group of Seven trade ministers in Northern Ireland May 26-27, disturbing EU diplomats, reports Bloomberg
16 March 2021 - 01:17
According to a source familiar with the plans, the idea of holding G-7 trade talks to Northern Ireland has raised eyebrows because Britain is embroiled in a dispute with the European Union over whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson will honour his commitment under the Brexit agreement to establish checks for goods moving between the province and the rest of the UK.
While it's not clear whether the suggested location was a deliberate provocation, the British have inflamed tensions with the EU by saying it will unilaterally change rules on trade across the Irish Sea that were part of the post-Brexit accord.
Britain has said it will waive customs paperwork on food entering Northern Ireland until October, ignoring the April deadline agreed with the EU. The EU has said the move would be a breach of international law and that it will take legal action.
Whitehall has not confirmed the final details or locations of any G-7 ministerial meetings.
Since Britain's departure from the EU there has been a customs and regulatory border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the country, creating a new administrative burden for businesses.
The requirement for export documents on food entering from other parts of the UK was designed to ensure that goods crossing into the EU respect the bloc's rules while allowing the rest of Britain to maintain absolute sovereignty over its standards and procedures.
The EU had insisted throughout the Brexit talks there could be no hard border on the island of Ireland.
Under proposals circulated to other G-7 members, the trade ministers' meeting would take place on May 26 and 27 but the plans, including the dates and location, are yet to be finalised and could change due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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