Trade

Boris Johnson denies Irish customs clearance plan

MANCHESTER, England — Customs checks on goods crossing the Irish border must take place somewhere, Boris Johnson said this morning, but denied overnight reports that the U.K. is proposing a line of checkpoints just miles from the border.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4s Today program from the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, Johnson said reports about the content of the U.K. proposal were “not quite right” and specifically denied the claim of a string of customs posts a short distance from the frontier.

However, he said there was a “natural limit to the ability of a sovereign state to compromise on things like the customs territory” and agreed that customs checks on the island of Ireland would have to occur somewhere. “Thats just the reality,” he said.

Speaking separately to BBC Breakfast, Johnson said Brussels and Dublin were “not talking about the proposals that were actually going to be taking, theyre talking about some stuff that went in previously.” He added that the leak was “an example of the kind of ways in which this thing can get confused and people can, I think, needlessly distort what were proposing and then conversations can become more difficult. We do think theres a good way forward. We do think theres a good solution.”

Irish politicians have come out against the reported plan for customers clearance centers back from the border. Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee told Irish radio station Newstalk the proposals were unacceptable. “If this is what is being proposed next week it wont be acceptable … This will never be acceptable to people on this island … It will completely disrupt the flow of our economy,” she said.

Johnson said Brussels and Dublin were “not talking about the proposals that were actually going to be taking, theyre talking about some stuff that went in previously.”

Irelands Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney called the idea a “non-starter.”

Johnson told Today that the U.K. would bring forward its full, formal proposal for replacing the Northern Ireland backstop element of the Brexit deal “shortly.”

He confirmed U.K. plans to permit Northern Ireland to operate under Read More – Source

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