U.K. Irks EU with Call to Change Post-Brexit Trade Rules

The British government said that the post-Brexit trade rules it negotiated with the European Union “cannot go on” and need a major rewrite, straining already-tense U.K./E.U. relations and drawing a message of concern from the U.S. government, the Associated Press reported. The government said Britain would be justified in unilaterally suspending the legally binding Brexit agreement but had decided not to do so just yet. Since the U.K. left the EU’s economic embrace at the end of 2020, relations have soured over trade arrangements for Northern Ireland, the only part of the U.K. that has a land border with the 27-nation bloc. The divorce deal the two sides struck before Britain’s departure means that customs and border checks must be conducted on some goods moving between Northern Ireland and the rest of the U.K. The regulations are intended to keep an open border between Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland, a key pillar of Northern Ireland’s peace process. But they have angered Northern Ireland’s British unionists, who say they amount to a border in the Irish Sea and weaken ties with the rest of the U.K. Britain accuses the EU of taking a “purist” approach to the rules that is causing unnecessary red tape for businesses, and has called for the bloc to show “pragmatism.” Brexit minister David Frost said that Britain had tried to implement the arrangements “in good faith,” but they were causing a severe burden on businesses and society in Northern Ireland. Read more.