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Brexit: 'No new processes' for NI firms sending goods to GB

By John Campbell
BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor

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image copyrightReuters
image captionMichael Gove has said the UK is committed to implementing the NI Protocol

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has again insisted there will be no new processes for NI businesses sending goods to GB as a result of Brexit.

Mr Gove was answering questions from MPs about a piece of administration known as an exit summary declaration.

Two weeks ago, the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, insisted these declarations would be required.

The issue is currently being considered by the EU-UK committee overseeing the Brexit deal.

This particular piece of administration has been the subject of confused, sometimes contradictory, statements by ministers and senior officials in the UK.

It was this paperwork which the prime minister suggested Northern Ireland businesses could throw in the bin.

Last month, the UK government published its plan for implementing the Northern Ireland part of the Brexit deal and said these declarations would not be required.

However, Mr Barnier said the UK pledge not to require the declaration was "incompatible" with legal commitments made in the Brexit deal.

Mr Gove was being questioned by the NI Affairs Committee about the NI Protocol.

It is the NI part of the Brexit deal and will be operational from January.

It will mean Northern Ireland will effectively stay in the EU single market for goods and will apply EU customs rules at its ports.

This will mean some new checks and controls on goods entering NI from the rest of the UK.

image copyrightEPA
image captionMichel Barnier has insisted exit summary declarations would be required

Mr Gove was unable to give details about exactly what new processes will apply, saying consultations with businesses are continuing.

He suggested some clear direction would be forthcoming later in the summer.

He also rejected calls for a further implementation period at the end of the transition.

Some Northern Ireland business groups have asked for at least six months of implementation to ensure the new systems and processes work properly.

Mr Gove also said the UK was "absolutely" committed to implementing the protocol even if a trade deal is not reached with the EU.

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