- By Jayne McCormack
- BBC News NI political correspondent
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will be in Northern Ireland on Tuesday to promote the government’s new deal on post-Brexit trading arrangements.
He is expected to meet businesses that have operated under the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The new agreement between the UK and the EU, called the Windsor Framework, will reduce controls on goods going from the UK to NI.
The Democratic Unionist Party, whose support will be key to restoring power-sharing, has warned that key issues remain.
In his second visit to Northern Ireland in as many weeks, Sunak is also believed to hold some informal discussions with Stormont’s political parties.
Some of them have already expressed reservations about the “Stormont brake” – the part of the deal the government says will give the Northern Irish assembly greater influence over how new EU laws apply in Northern Ireland.
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said his party would now study the text of the bill before making a decision on whether to back the deal.
The party has boycotted devolved government at Stormont until concerns over the Northern Ireland Protocol are resolved, while some Tory MPs have said they will only back a deal that has the DUP’s backing.
Sinn Féin, which is the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly, welcomed the deal but said it still needed to examine the details.
After months of negotiations and speculation surrounding a possible deal, it was finally unveiled on Monday during a day of carefully choreographed events.
Sunak said the deal provided “smooth flow of trade across the UK, protects Northern Ireland’s place in our Union and safeguards sovereignty for the people of Northern Ireland”.
- Goods from the UK bound for Northern Ireland will travel through a new ‘green lane’, with a separate ‘red lane’ for goods at risk of moving on to the EU
- Products entering Northern Ireland through the green lane will see most checks and paperwork scrapped, while goods from red lanes will still be subject to regular checks
- A ‘Stormont brake’ allows Northern Ireland’s assembly to object to ‘significantly different’ EU rules that would apply in Northern Ireland
- UK VAT and duty rules will apply to Northern Ireland for alcoholic beverages for immediate consumption and fixed goods such as heat pumps. Previously, EU VAT rules could be applied in Northern Ireland
US President Joe Biden said the deal was “an important step to ensure that the hard-earned peace and momentum of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement is preserved and strengthened”.
But there is no guarantee that it will result in the return of a devolved devolved government for Northern Ireland.