If I'm reading the Internal Market Bill and Withdrawal Agreement Bill right they between them give UK Ministers the power to overturn WTO rules as well as the Withdrawal Agreement. But similarly the power to prevent Northern Ireland products being sold in the UK.
Because the Internal Market Bill uses the language first defined in the EU Withdrawal Agreement Act of "qualifying goods" from Northern Ireland. And what are these goods? Entirely up to the Minister to decide...
So, Mutual Recognition in Article 11 does not apply to Northern Ireland if Ministers decide it doesn't. Or does if they decide it does. 11-3 being the key para.
We then move to para 41 of the Bill, on checks on Northern Ireland to Great Britain goods. Which can be summarised as not allowing any new checks unless required, unless those requirements are in turn overrided by Section 45...
And section 45 overrides every existing commitment including WTO rules.
To summarise then, Ministers will have the power to prohibit goods from Northern Ireland being mutually recognised in the rest of the UK, but can only authorise checks around this decision, not for example to comply with WTO rules.
This Bill deserves some serious scrutiny because I suspect there's a lot more there that raises major questions. And it particularly plays to the idea that powers coming back from the EU are going to Ministers with only the slightest hint of Parliamentary sovereignty.
Now wondering if candidate for WTO DG Liam Fox will vote in favour of the UK government having the power to ignore WTO rules in the Internal Market Bill?

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More from @DavidHenigUK

23 Sep
My @ECIPE colleague @osguinea has been crunching some numbers on UK-EU trade and discovered there are 604 products the UK only buys from the EU.

There is one product the EU only buys from the UK.

Breaking down the data to country level we see that Ireland, Malta, and Cyprus are the three EU Member States with the most products bought from the UK and nowhere else. Which I think should worry us about how much the UK has relied on historical ties for trade. Image
Some of Ireland's products only imported from the UK may come from Northern Ireland, a trade that should be unaffected by Brexit. But given that UK-Ireland trade will in future be subject to more barriers than France-Ireland, we can expect UK-Ireland trade to reduce.
Read 4 tweets
23 Sep
What I think we're about to discover in the UK is that we took seamless borders for granted for 25 years.
Queueing at borders is the global norm. UK politicians of the 1980s were part of a west European effort to remove these, the UK more for trade reasons, other countries that and the symbolism of Europe without borders.
Saying the EU is "imposing" checks is like saying China or the US are doing the same. It isn't exceptional and media failing to challenge this do us a disservice.
Read 7 tweets
22 Sep
Most major London employers had already worked out best not return to the office even when the government a few weeks ago were telling people to return. Inconsistent ministers, nothing to do with anyone else.
I don't see what is so hard to understand about confined indoor spaces being vectors of infection be they offices, trains or pubs. And that summer was a time to encourage people to go out, but winter is going to be more of a problem.
What we need to hear from the PM today, but probably won't, is that government has a joined up comprehensive plan to get the UK through what is going to be a tough winter. From hospitality to football, Brexit to the health service, so many issues.
Read 5 tweets
18 Sep
In one sense nothing has happened in UK-EU talks for months - it is still about whether the PM wants the deal that is on offer and has been since the start of talks - FTA with Level Playing Field (but not dymamic alignment).
What I particularly don't know is if Number 10 has yet understood that the deal they want is not on offer, however hard they bang the table. I think not, and they are happy to keep holding out for this believing in any case no deal isn't a major problem.
At the end of the day, the PM has to make the decision. Generally he'd prefer to be the hero. But repeating the trick of last year, of signing up to the EU's deal and pretending it is his, might not be so easy this time. It is on matters like this that the EU FTA rides.
Read 5 tweets
18 Sep
Grateful for the reminder of these EU slides on the Northern Ireland protocol which I first saw in January. If this is an extreme interpretation why did the UK government not say so at the time? If not, what has changed since?
This the 2nd particularly relevant picture, note the reference to other international obligations like WTO etc
My copy of these slides is dated 22 January 2020. The same day curiously that the Withdrawal Agreement Bill completed its parliamentary passage. So who has changed their mind since January, the EU or the UK?
Read 4 tweets
17 Sep
I've spend far too much time studying the Northern Ireland protocol but what continues to stand out is the cleverness of the construction - which I suspect heavily involved UK and well as EU lawyers. For example we often talk about the 1st sentence of this para, rarely the 2nd.
The intended implication of Article 6 seems plain - yes the UK and EU will have to put some checks on goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, but these can be challenged as to their absolute necessity. Deep technical work, alive to political sensitivities.
Trade treaties aren't an instruction manual, but a broad framework within which governments are expected to find ways to cooperate and deliver for those affected. They can't work unless both sides share that framework.
Read 7 tweets

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