Post-Brexit row over Northern Ireland sparks trade war fear

The UK Government has announced it will introduce a new law to change the post-Brexit trade deal for Northern Ireland, known as the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss insisted the bill would be legal under international law, but the EU has warned it could trigger a trade war and will pursue a legal challenge against the UK if the Government proceeds with its plans. 

The deal governs how goods enter Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK and was negotiated by the Government after the Brexit vote in 2019.

The Foreign Secretary told Parliament the move would change the deal rather than scrap it, to resolve “the grave situation in Northern Ireland”.

But Maros Sefcovic, the Vice President of the European Commission hit back and said it would “need to respond with all measures at its disposal” if the UK went ahead with the legislation.

What is the protocol?

What is the Irish Sea border?

In October last year, the EU set out its own proposals, which included:

In return, the EU wanted extra safeguards to prevent products from Great Britain crossing into the Republic of Ireland.

The UK rejected this offer, saying it would “worsen the current trading arrangements”.

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