Mr Patsy McGlone (Mid Ulster): To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs for his assessment of the implementation of the Ireland protocol.
Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs: From 1 January, the greater the deviation between the UK and the EU in terms of trading arrangements, tariffs and SPS rules, the more difficult and intrusive the Protocol becomes. Therefore, one of my key priorities is for the UK and the EU to agree a zero tariff, zero quota limit deal, and to have maximum alignment in terms of SPS arrangements. I believe there is still time to achieve this and it is in everyone’s interest that we do. If there is no trade agreement between the UK and the EU, the implementation of the Protocol becomes even more challenging.
It is my aim to ensure that the Northern Ireland Protocol is implemented in a way that maximises the flow of trade, and which works for Northern Ireland’s businesses and citizens in terms of agri-food. This means having approved port facilities designated by the European Union which enable the continued importation of animal and plant products and live animals into Northern Ireland; and a legally binding framework which ensures continued unconstrained access for Northern Ireland’s businesses to their key market in Great Britain.