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No deal border plan is not sustainable, says Farry

Alliance Brexit spokesperson Stephen Farry MLA has said UK Government plans for no tariffs or checks on goods entering Northern Ireland from the Republic in a no deal Brexit are neither tenable nor sustainable.

The plans, published by the UK Government, for no checks or controls on the border, would see Irish and other EU products entering the rest of the UK then incurring tariffs and checks.

"These plans are neither tenable nor sustainable under WTO rules, and in terms of economic sense," said Dr Farry.

"It breaches the non-discrimination principle between Most Favoured Nations that governs world trade, outside of formal free trade agreements and customs unions. While everyone seemingly wants to avoid a hard border in Ireland, this has to be done on a sound, legal basis.

"These plans are not that, particularly for an advanced economy in a globalised world. At best, they amount to a temporary fix. Given the misplaced fuss of the DUP and ERG around the backstop and the notion of Northern Ireland being treated differently, the irony of these proposals seeing a different approach around customs will not be lost on anyone.

"These proposals will also bring significant economic distortions and consequences, including formal displacement of trade and economic activity, and indeed smuggling.

"More broadly, there is a real danger in this no deal contingency stuff focusing solely on how both the UK and EU/Ireland avoid new physical checks. This is only one part of the conundrum. There will be many non-tariff barriers and regulatory issues for all aspects of the economy, including services, to be overcome."