UK readies plans for post-Brexit world

Taoiseach visits United States of America

"We stand by all the commitments we made in December", she told parliament.

The report addresses the fundamental question of how the UK's decision to leave the Single Market and Customs Union can be reconciled with avoiding a hard border in Northern Ireland.

"However, the committee was unable to identify any border solution now in operation across the globe that would enable physical infrastructure to be avoided when rules and tariffs diverge".

As well as playing down the prospects of a hi-tech alternative to a hard border, the British MPs' report rejected Irish government suggestions that there could be a customs border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom after Brexit.

The government should set out in detail how it proposes to manage immigration through internal controls.

The vexed issue of keeping the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland fully open after Brexit has become a major headache for ministers undertaking the negotiations.

"During the implementation period, we recommend that the government works closely with its counterparts in Ireland and the European Union to develop an innovative border system capable of delivering customs compliance without traditional physical infrastructure at the border".

The EU says the United Kingdom can not get a legally watertight transition deal until it resolves the status of the Irish border as part of a wider divorce settlement.

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Last month, the European Commission published a draft text of an agreement that would see Northern Ireland remain part of the EU customs union if the United Kingdom did not devise a solution for the border.

The Committee rejected any proposals for customs checks which would result in a customs border down the Irish Sea.

The Prime Minister has proposed an implementation period of approximately two years after the United Kingdom leaves on 29 March 2019 to give individuals, businesses and Governments time to plan and initiate changes.

"This would create a costly barrier to trade with Northern Ireland's largest market and would be incompatible with the spirit and intent of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement".

Among them, the concern that no technological solution that would eliminate the need for customs posts has been presented. We very much regret the continued absence of a functioning Assembly and Executive in Northern Ireland at this time of significant change for the whole of the UK.

The report, entitled The land border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, calls on the Government to do more to put a more clarified arrangement in place including processes and technical measures, allowing the current frictionless border arrangements to remain as such.

The report states that a "significant" transition period is essential for the proposals set out in the joint report agreed between the European Union and the UK Government in December to be worked through.

The government has promised a "frictionless" border between the United Kingdom and Ireland post-Brexit, but exactly how this will work is still unclear.

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