16 Abr Withdrawal Agreement Bill Trade
On 6 September 2020, the Financial Times reported that the UK government was considering drafting new laws to circumvent the protocol of the Northern Ireland Withdrawal Agreement.  The new law would give ministers the power to determine which state aid should be notified to the EU and to define which products at risk of being transferred from Northern Ireland to Ireland (the withdrawal agreement stipulates that in the absence of a reciprocal agreement, all products are considered vulnerable).  The government defended this approach and stated that the legislation was in accordance with protocol and that it had only “clarified” the volumity in the protocol.  Ursula von der Leyen warned Johnson not to violate international law and said that the implementation of the withdrawal agreement by Britain was a “precondition for any future partnership”.  On 8 September, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, told the British Parliament that the government`s internal market bill would “violate international law”.”  Britain left the EU in January and is facing a race against time to agree on a free trade agreement before the end of the transition period on 31 December. He called on the government to withdraw the law “by the end of the month,” adding that the withdrawal agreement contained “a number of mechanisms and remedies to remedy violations of the legal obligations contained in the text – which the European Union will not hesitate to use.” The 2019 revisions also adapted elements of the political declaration and replaced the word “appropriate” with “appropriate” with respect to labour standards. According to Sam Lowe, a trade fellow at the Centre for European Reform, the amendment excludes labour standards from dispute resolution mechanisms.  In addition, the Equal Competition Mechanism has been postponed from the legally binding withdrawal agreement to the political declaration, and the line of the political statement that “the United Kingdom will consider taking into account alignment with trade union rules in the relevant areas” has been removed.  At the end of the discussions, the EU, in a very clear statement, stated that the withdrawal agreement was a legal obligation, adding that “neither the EU nor the UK can modify, clarify, modify, interpret, implement it unilaterally”. The European Union has warned Britain that even the slightest breach of the treaty would undermine the lack of confidence between the two sides in already fragile trade negotiations. After two meetings today – one on trade negotiations and the other on the government`s plans to rewrite part of last year`s agreed contract – there has been only a diplomatic explosion.