Stormont urges more details on measures around goods amid ‘back door’ concerns

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Stormont’s economy minister has called for further details on measures preventing EU goods from illicitly entering Great Britain via Northern Ireland.

Diane Dodds said it was vital to ensure the region did not become a “back door” for the bloc’s products.

The Northern Ireland Protocol is designed to preserve the frictionless and open Irish border after the end of the Brexit transition period.

She urged those involved in negotiations to “outline anti-avoidance measures used against EU businesses attempting to avoid tariffs by bringing goods into Northern Ireland”.

She added: “We want to preserve our place within the UK internal market.

“It is the most important market for Northern Ireland.”

She said it was equally important they maintained faith in the sourcing of Northern Irish goods “so that Northern Ireland is not seen as a backwater, a backdoor where everybody and any country can bring goods into the Great Britain market”.

She added: “That would undermine us in the Great Britain market and would undermine the value and provenance of Northern Ireland goods and that is massively important as well.”

The agreement covers issues such as border checks on animal and plant products (Liam McBurney/PA)

An “agreement in principle” has been reached on Northern Ireland aspects of Brexit, the EU and UK said.

The British Government confirmed it will withdraw controversial measures which could have seen the divorce deal torn up and the UK break international law.

The agreement covers issues such as border checks on animal and plant products, the supply of medicines, and deliveries of chilled meats and other food products to supermarkets.

There was also “clarification” on the application of rules on state subsidies.

Mrs Dodds said she would need to read the detail of the UK’s agreement on Tuesday with the EU on implementing the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Wider Brexit talks on a trade deal are continuing.

She said: “For Northern Ireland, for the rest of the UK, it would be better if we were able to achieve that zero tariffs and quotas deal.

“We need the practical outcomes for the protocol to be agreed.”

She answered questions at Stormont.

“I spoke to businesses this morning and all agree that a pragmatic and practical outcome is absolutely desired,” Mrs Dodds added.

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