Smugglers' paradise? No deal Brexit plans would keep the Irish border open

An anti Brexit protester at Westminster London

The UK government said in a statement that in the event of a no-deal Brexit - which means Britain crashing out of the European Union without an agreement and therefore creating a vacuum of where there are no set rules and regulations for businesses to adhere to - the regime is intended to "minimise costs to business and consumers while protecting vulnerable industries".

But tariffs would be imposed on some imports from the EU. This would not involve any infrastructure or checks at the border including in Northern Ireland.

The Irish PM said the most pressing issue facing his country was how to settle questions about the future of the border between Ireland, an European Union member, and Northern Ireland, which won't be.

The British government published their plans on Tuesday, ahead of a critical vote in parliament, where MPs will decide whether to rule out a "no-deal" Brexit.

The UK Government will slash import tariffs to zero across 87% of goods in the event of a no deal Brexit to try avoid higher prices for consumers - but the cost of food and cars is set to rise, according to plans revealed this morning.

This latest announcement stated that around 87% (by value) of imported goods would see a zero tariff in a "no deal" Brexit (around 80% of imported goods (by value) are now tariff-free, according to the BBC).

Cheddar will be protected under existing tariff rates, but other cheese products will face no tariffs, and tariffs on steel and aluminium imports will be dropped.

British prime minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street London
British prime minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street London

Coveney said that the move could inflict €800m (£696m) in damage to Ireland's agriculture sector, since it would be forced to compete with goods from countries like Brazil.

However, it is not clear to what extent RoI companies will be able to continue trading for free with Great Britain just so long as they route their goods through NI ports.

To fulfil essential worldwide obligations, there would be new United Kingdom import requirements such as checks on documents or registration for a very limited set of goods, such as endangered species and hazardous chemicals.

But the Ulster Farmers' Union said it could see no upside to the plans: "The risk is farming becomes a secondary industry in Northern Ireland rather than primary, which has a significant knock-on effect for the rest of NI's economy, especially in rural areas".

"The measures announced today recognize the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland", Karen Bradley, Britain's secretary of state for Northern Ireland said in a statement.

"Most important thing for us in Ireland is that their decision to leave shouldn't cause problems in Northern Ireland where people voted to stay", he said. These arrangements can only be temporary and short term'.

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