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The government has established a business group to look at Brexit backstop alternatives.
Members have been appointed to the Business and Trade Union Alternative Arrangements Advisory Group, which met for the first time late last week.
Following the recent launch of an expert advisory group looking at alternative arrangements to the Northern Ireland backstop, the government has convened a second group made up of businesses and trade unions to help inform its negotiations with the EU on trade.
The group includes small and large business representatives from Ireland, Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, chosen on the basis of their comprehensive backgrounds in cross-border supply chains.
They will consider processes associated with the movement of goods across borders and options for simplifying them, such as trusted trader programmes and advanced use of data and IT systems, the government said in a statement.
The UK and EU have a shared desire to replace the backstop with alternative arrangements to ensure there is no hard border — and both sides have committed to prioritising the development of these in the next phase of talks.
“The development of alternative arrangements to replace the backstop has been recognised as a priority by both the UK Government and the EU Commission. Accordingly, we have a highly-informed group of experts in trade and customs focused on developing and testing workable solutions,” Robin Walker, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, said.
Mr Walker added that it is vital that any possible alternatives to the backstop are informed by the views of those on the ground, whose goods cross the border every single day.
“So I am delighted to chair this important group, which will ensure that the voices of business and trade union representatives are heard”.
The government has made available £20 million of funding to support the development, testing or piloting of any ideas that emerge from this advisory groups.