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Brexit checks must be minimised to avoid economic damage, insists Arlene Foster

UK News | Published:

The DUP leader said controls on goods travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland should not have a major impact.

Arlene Foster

Brexit checks on goods travelling between Great Britain and Northern Ireland should be minimised, Stormont’s First Minister Arlene Foster has said.

The country will have to follow EU rules on agriculture and manufactured goods, ensuring access to its single market and keeping the border with the Republic of Ireland free-flowing in a key concession maintaining a decades-old peace.

DUP MPs voted in Parliament against the agreement between the UK and EU on post-transition period checks on shipments from England, Wales and Scotland destined for Northern Ireland to protect the EU’s trading standards.

Mrs Foster told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: “What we have to do now is minimise those checks and make sure that they do not damage the economy of Northern Ireland.

“The best way to protect the Belfast Agreement and the people of Northern Ireland is to make sure that there are not unnecessary checks and the economy suffers as a result of the Northern Ireland protocol.

“We must make sure that we minimise those checks.”

The UK Government has said controls will be needed on some goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK as part of Brexit, but bureaucracy will be kept to a “minimum”.

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Those deemed to be “at risk” of entering the Republic of Ireland and the EU’s internal market could have punitive tariffs placed on them if no free trade agreement is struck.

The definition of exactly which are “at risk” remains to be resolved between EU and UK negotiators.

Recently, DUP Stormont agriculture minister Edwin Poots said Northern Ireland could benefit from having access to the EU single market and the UK, making it an attractive place to invest.

The DUP’s opposition to an earlier plan to avoid a hard Irish border, the backstop, played a major part in the fall of Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal and the former prime minister’s ousting from office.

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