UK Government Command Paper deserves serious consideration in negotiations

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UK Government Command Paper deserves serious consideration in negotiations

Following the publication of the survey carried out on behalf of the University of Liverpool, Ulster Unionist Party Leader Doug Beattie MC MLA said:

“The findings from the survey demonstrate that serious, focused negotiations are needed to address the problems created by the Northern Ireland Protocol. A majority of people right across the community want to see solutions to the problems that affect their everyday lives. The Protocol needs replaced with a solution which works for everybody and protects the Belfast Agreement.

“The Ulster Unionist Party has engaged proactively with the UK Government, the EU and stakeholders. We have been putting forward solutions since 2019 and it is through this engagement that some of our proposals are contained in the UK Government`s Command Paper. The findings from the University of Liverpool survey indicate wide cross-community support for the UK Government`s proposals ‘that goods should circulate without checks on their movement into and within Northern Ireland if they meet either UK or EU standards.’ If solutions are to be found, then there must be a balanced negotiation giving serious consideration to these proposals rather than the one-upmanship which has be-devilled negotiations so far. We need bridge builders rather than fire starters.

“I recently met the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium and ASDA who relayed their own thoughts and concerns. The business community are proactively suggesting solutions which could provide a pathway forward. One is to consider mass-levelling. Goods destined for use in Northern Ireland should not require any checks. If there are issues about particular goods, then the EU should put them on a list of concerns.

“As Lord Empey has pointed out, evidence given to the House of Lords Committee on the Protocol indicates that goods going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland represent 0.0008% of EU GDP. The threat to the EU Single Market from this level of trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland has been grossly exaggerated. Now is the time to focus on solutions. Northern Ireland deserves better than what has gone before.”