UK will unilaterally change post-Brexit rules by introducing a law

LONDON -- The British government will introduce legislation Monday to unilaterally alter post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland, despite opposition from lawmakers who feel the move is against international law.

UK will unilaterally change post-Brexit rules by introducing a law

LONDON -- The British government will introduce legislation Monday to unilaterally alter post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland, despite opposition from lawmakers who feel the move is against international law.

This legislation would allow the government to bypass the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol. It requires inspection of goods that are shipped from the United Kingdom. This protocol is designed to protect free trade on the island. It was part of a larger trade agreement that Prime Minister Boris Johnson reached with the European Union after Britain left the 27-nation bloc.

Johnson has found the arrangement to be politically harmful because it treats Northern Ireland differently than the rest of the United Kingdom. This could potentially weaken the province's historical links with Britain. Until the protocol is amended, the Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party will not be allowed to return to the region’s power-sharing government.

Johnson's Conservatives and the Labour Party are opposed to unilaterally changing this protocol. They claim it would make Britain less friendly with other countries and damage Britain's reputation as a signatory to a treaty that is binding under international law.

The most difficult issue in Britain's decision to divorce from the EU was the arrangements for Northern Ireland, the only region of the U.K. with a border with an EU country. These agreements became final at 2020.

The fact that the U.K. as well as Ireland were EU members was a key factor in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that ended decades of violence and conflict in Northern Ireland. This allowed goods and people to freely cross the border.

Both sides want to keep the border open. However, there are other competing interests that make it difficult.

The EU is focused on protecting its internal markets and wants all goods entering the bloc to meet its standards. Britain seeks to retain its independence from the EU, while maintaining the union of England and Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Wales.

Maros Sefcovic, Vice President of the European Commission, stated that unilateral action was damaging to mutual trust and creates uncertainty after he spoke with Liz Truss (British Foreign Secretary).

After the U.K.'s plans are released, the EU's executive arm will likely give a more detailed answer.

Simon Coveney from Ireland, the foreign affairs minister, spoke to Truss Monday as well and accused the U.K government of intentionally ratcheting up tension with an EU seeking compromise.

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This story was contributed by Samuel Petrequin, an Associated Press reporter in Brussels.

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Follow AP's coverage of Brexit at https://apnews.com/hub/brexit.

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