After threats to tear up Brexit deal, UK and EU hold tight talks – .

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After threats to tear up Brexit deal, UK and EU hold tight talks – .


A European Union (EU) flies alongside a British Union flag, also known as the Union Jack in London.
Jason Alden | Creative photos from Bloomberg | Getty Images
LONDON – The UK and the European Union are due to start new negotiations on Friday in an attempt to avert an impending trade war.
The UK officially left the EU in January 2020 and since then a number of new trade deals have been put in place. However, the agreements now appear to be in jeopardy, as the UK complains about difficulties in implementing the required controls on goods transferred from Britain to Northern Ireland.

The nature of this post-Brexit border has been a major sticking point in the negotiations between the UK government and the European Union. Great Britain includes England, Scotland and Wales, but not Northern Ireland; Northern Ireland is, however, part of the United Kingdom

The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, proposed last month to adapt parts of the trade deal to make such controls easier. But EU officials have since complained that the government of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is showing no willingness to negotiate.

Political analysts have warned that this stalemate could last for several months.

A Commission official, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the negotiations, said Thursday his proposals marked “a significant difference” from the original trade deal.
“Northern Ireland deserves stability and certainty, and we are ready to work tirelessly to achieve this,” the official said. “The UK needs to take a step towards us to make sure the talks are meaningful. “

There are, however, significant differences in the way the EU and the UK seek to tackle the problem.

UK Brexit Minister David Frost has said all checks on goods from Britain to Northern Ireland should end. Instead, he believes authorities should trust companies to let them know whether the products will stay in Northern Ireland or continue to the Republic of Ireland – which is European territory.

Companies have to fill out different forms depending on whether the goods will enter the European market or not.

However, the European Commission says it cannot trust businesses to keep them informed about trade flows. “What does not work is to wait for traders to tell us,” said the anonymous commission official. “We think we need data to track this. “

The Commission has said it wants to drastically reduce the amount of paperwork businesses have to fill out when moving goods from Britain to Northern Ireland. Ultimately, however, Brussels fears that products that do not meet European standards will end up entering the EU’s single market via Northern Ireland.

Another problem is that the UK wants to end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice over the operation of its trade deal. But the EU does not budge on this one.

Tear it all up?

In the midst of this stalemate, Frost threatened to trigger so-called Article 16 – it would lead to the suspension of part of the current trade deal on the grounds that it is causing “economic, societal or environmental hardship.”

He said on Wednesday that triggering this article would be the “only option” if negotiations with the EU fail.

The EU, for its part, has warned that it would retaliate in this scenario, which could lead to a lack of a trade agreement – and a trade war.

“Senior EU officials in Brussels, but also in the 27 capitals of the continent, are extremely grim about the prospects and believe that an escalation in the form of a trade war – probably at the start of the new year – is now almost inevitable, ”analysts at the Eurasia advisory group said. said in a note Tuesday.

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