If, at the end of the transition period, the EU and the UK fail to reach an agreement on their future relations guaranteeing the absence of a border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, the « backstop of Northern Ireland » will come into force. In this case, Northern Ireland will be part of the UK customs territory, but it will be aligned with a limited set of EU rules, particularly with regard to goods. Trade in goods is affected. There will be regulatory controls on goods taking place at the UK`s entry into Northern Ireland and not through the land border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. In addition, the United Kingdom will apply tariffs to the United Kingdom on products from third countries as long as goods imported with Deminland are threatened with entering the EU internal market. This applies equally to goods arriving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland or directly to Northern Ireland. However, the UK will apply EU tariffs to products that are at risk of entering the internal market. This is, of course, an extremely complex issue, because at the moment we do not fully understand how the question of the risk of entry into the internal market is defined or what measures the UK will take to enforce EU tariffs in this case and what could happen if the goods actually remained in Northern Ireland. Under the agreement, a joint EU-UK committee will further uncover these issues at a later stage. However, trade in services with the EU must be governed by WTO rules.
Under WTO rules, the specific impact for businesses will vary depending on the sector in which they operate. There will be no change in some sectors, while in other (generally highly regulated) sectors there will be additional requirements and standards and even a ban on the provision of certain services between the EU and the UK. On the basis of these documents, it appears that there are at least two different periods in the eu-UK trade relationship. The following is how trade with the EU will work overall over these different periods (based on the information available so far) and recommendations on what businesses should do at the moment. However, the « backstop » may never have come into force and the question of what conditions of competition would apply to the United Kingdom in the long term, if at all, would also have been addressed in the negotiations on future relations as they will be in the future. According to the Attorney General (the government`s supreme legal adviser), this instrument has reduced the likelihood that the UK will be kept in the backstop against its will if the EU blockes negotiations on future relationship agreements with bad intentions. This protocol was strongly rejected by the Democratic Unionist Party, which saw it as a weakening of Northern Ireland`s place in the United Kingdom and is seen by a number of commentators as the main reason why the withdrawal agreement was not ratified by the United Kingdom Parliament.    Since 2018, the DUP has stated that the anti-Northern Ireland ruling must be withdrawn from the Brexit withdrawal agreement if it were to continue to support the Conservative government in the House of Commons although the party has stated that it is open to limiting backstops over time.  Below is some information on the backstop, the points raised by VonJohnson and the EU reaction.