06:16PM, Tuesday 27 February 2018
In 2016 goods worth just £2.4 billion were exported from Northern Ireland to the Irish Republic.
In the same year UK GDP was £1,940billion, hence the goods exported across the border into the Republic made up less than 0.1 per cent of the UK economy.
Yet some are seriously suggesting that to avoid recreating the need to check this mere 0.1 per cent of UK output at the Irish land border, every person and business in the whole of the UK should remain subject to all EU laws.
Hardly less ludicrous than that suggestion is the equally flawed idea that whole of the Northern Ireland economy should remain under EU laws for the sake of the small fraction, about seven per cent, involved in the production of goods for export to the Republic.
There is an alternative, and perfectly reasonable, approach, for after we have left the EU. That is for the UK Parliament to pass a new law requiring all exports to the continuing EU to meet all EU requirements, on pain of penalties.
As only about six per cent of UK businesses are involved in exports to the EU, the other 94 per cent could be exempted from EU laws without that having any adverse effect on the EU.
After all, the previous need for checks was removed when the Single European Act came into force, which was only possible because the UK Parliament had passed the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1986 to approve that treaty.
If the existing UK law provides a sufficient guarantee to the Irish and EU authorities that there is no need to check imports from the UK at the border, as it does, then there is no reason why a new UK law could not also provide such a guarantee.
Dr DR Cooper
Belmont Park Avenue
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