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The U.K. Threatens to Amend the Northern Ireland Protocol, Worsening Brexit Tensions

MIN READJun 14, 2022 | 19:47 GMT

A truck leaves a port near Belfast on May 17, 2022, after the U.K. announced its intention to drastically overhaul post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland.

A truck leaves a port near Belfast on May 17, 2022, after the U.K. announced its intention to drastically overhaul post-Brexit trade rules in Northern Ireland.

(PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images)

While a U.K. proposal to unilaterally override parts of the Northern Ireland protocol increases the risk of a trade war with the European Union, it faces constraints on its passage and there will still be opportunities for de-escalation before either side makes any drastic decisions. On June 13, the U.K. government unveiled a bill that would grant British officials the power to override parts of the Northern Ireland protocol, the part of the Brexit agreement that establishes customs and sanitary controls at the Irish Sea. According to the bill, U.K. ministers would have the power to create a “green lane” for U.K. traders sending goods to Northern Ireland that are not meant for the EU single market. These goods would not be subject to any checks and would not need to comply with EU single market rules or standards. Separately, ministers would also be able to create a “red lane”...

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