NI Protocol: Liz Truss says government wants to remove 'customs bureaucracy' and protect EU market

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says the Government wants to remove the "customs bureaucracy" whilst at the same time protecting the EU Single Market.

While on a visit to Northern Ireland she said the government's intention was not to rip up the protocol.

Ms Truss made the comments while visiting a haulage company in Lisburn. She said she was in a "mood to get practical solutions".

Last week she outlined plans to put in place legislation to circumvent the protocol.

"I am in Northern Ireland to talk about our solution on customs," she said.

"Putting in place a red and green lane to make sure that we remove customs bureaucracy for those goods that are travelling from Great Britain into Northern Ireland, so we can restore the balance between the communities and restore the working of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement," Ms Truss said.

"We have had months of negotiations with the EU and our preference remains a negotiated solution but what we cannot allow is for this situation to drift.

"We do have difficulties with companies, and I have met them before in Northern Ireland and am meeting more today, of being able to get goods into Northern Ireland, there is an issue with costs, there is an issue with communities not feeling respected in Northern Ireland.

"It's very important that we deal with these practical issues, how we remove the customs bureaucracy whilst at the same time protecting the EU Single Market to resolve this situation."

Ms Truss claimed that the solution to the Northern Ireland Protocol will not mean "ripping it up" but will see changes to its operation.

"Our proposed solution will ease frictions in GB-NI trade, protect the Single Market and the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement," she added.

"It does not mean ripping up the Protocol, but it does mean changes to the protocol itself so that it is achieving its aims of supporting the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland and the delicate balance created by the Belfast Agreement.

"While our door remains open to talks, we cannot allow any more drift or delay. Without an executive and no prospect of one until these concerns can be addressed, we need to provide reassurance to Northern Ireland that the problems with the Protocol will be fixed one way or another.

"The UK has a duty to take the necessary decisions to preserve peace and stability.

"That is why I have announced our intention to introduce legislation in the coming weeks."

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