© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Tractors drive past an exit sign and a road sign for Belfast on the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, in Jonesborough, Northern Ireland, May 19, 2022. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo
By Elizabeth Piper and Kate Holton
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will set out plans on Monday to override some of the post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland, changes that will inflame tensions with the European Union but were dubbed mere “bureaucratic simplifications” by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Britain has been threatening for months to rip up the Northern Ireland protocol, an agreement for the British-run region struck by Johnson’s government in order to secure a Brexit divorce and wider trade deal between Brussels and London.
As part of the agreement, Northern Ireland effectively remained in the EU single market for goods to preserve an open border with EU-member Ireland that was key to a 1998 peace deal.
But that required customs checks on goods moving from Britain to Northern Ireland, which pro-British communities in Northern Ireland say erodes their place in the United Kingdom.
Johnson was keen to play down the impact of the new legislation, which his foreign minister, Liz Truss, will present to parliament later on Monday. He said any talk of a retaliatory trade war would be a “gross, gross overreaction”.
“It’s a bureaucratic change that needs to be made. Frankly it’s a relatively trivial set of adjustments,” Johnson told LBC radio, again challenging critics who say the legislation will break international law.
“All we are trying to do is have some bureaucratic simplifications between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”
Truss urged the European Commission’s vice-president, Maros Sefcovic, to allow changes to the protocol, repeating London’s position that it does want a “negotiated solution”.
The legislation, like Brexit itself, has split legal and political opinion in Britain, with supporters of the UK’s divorce saying it does not go far enough and critics saying it undermines London by challenging an international agreement.
Ireland warned that the plan would be “deeply damaging” and a “low point” in London’s approach to Brexit. Sefcovic said unilateral action would damage trust.
Tensions over the protocol have been simmering for months between London and Brussels, with British ministers accusing the EU of imposing rules that have snarled goods in red tape and threatened political stability in Northern Ireland.
Critics of London’s plan, including representatives of the province’s dairy, manufacturing and logistics industries, say its unilateral action will damage business.
Brussels believes any unilateral change may breach international law and it could respond with legal action and the imposition of tariffs – a risk at a time when British inflation is set to hit 10% and the economy is shrinking.
It is expected to propose a “green channel” for goods moving from Britain to Northern Ireland, scrapping rules that prevent the province from benefiting from tax assistance and ending the role of the European Court of Justice as sole arbiter.
The plan will be a test of Johnson’s authority after four in 10 of his lawmakers opposed him in a confidence vote last week.
It is also likely to spark alarm in Washington. U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said there will be no U.S.-UK trade deal if London scraps the protocol.
South Korean exports dropped 14% in November, the highest in 2.5 years
South Korea’s exports fell 14 percent year-on-year to $51.91 billion in November, preliminary data from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy showed. The November drop was the biggest in 2.5 years since May 2020 and was caused both by the deteriorating global economy, which even a Google price chart showed, and a truckers’ strike in the country.
South Korea exports 2022 – reasons for the drop
Exports fell for the second month in a row. Analysts on average expected an 11% decline, according to Trading Economics. Respondents to MarketWatch predicted a 10.5% decline.
Shipments of semiconductor products overseas, the country’s top export item, fell 29.8%; petrochemicals fell 26.5% and steel exports fell 10.6%. Meanwhile, exports of automobiles jumped 31% and petroleum products 26%.
Exports to China, South Korea’s largest trading partner, fell by 25.5%, and to Asian countries – by 13.9%. Below, supplies to the USA grew by 8% and to the European Union – by 0.1%.
In January-November exports rose by 7.8% on the same period last year and reached a record $629.1 billion.
South Korean imports rose 2.7% to $59.2 billion in November, marking the 23rd consecutive month of gains, but the current rate of growth is the lowest since November 2020. Experts had predicted an increase of only 0.2%.
South Korea’s trade deficit last month was $7.01 billion, compared with a surplus of $2,973 billion a year earlier.
The negative balance was recorded for the eighth month in a row. As a result, by the end of 2022, the country may record a foreign trade deficit for the first time since the financial crisis in 2008.
Earlier we reported that the UN estimates the cost of humanitarian aid in 2023 at a record $51 billion.
The UN estimates humanitarian aid costs in 2023 at a record $51 billion because of an impending humanitarian crisis
Joint humanitarian operations will require a record $51.5 billion in 2023 to address urgent problems.
The UN Office for the OCHA estimates that 339 million people will need urgent aid in 2023. At the same time, OCHA called on donor countries to provide funds for assistance in 2023 to the 230 million people most in need, living in 68 countries.
Griffiths explained that aid is needed not only for people experiencing conflicts and disease outbreaks. but also for those suffering the effects of climate change, such as people in peninsular Somalia facing drought and those in Pakistan experiencing severe flooding. For the first time, the growing humanitarian crisis has brought the number of displaced people worldwide to the 100 million mark. Also worsening an already bad situation is the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, which affects the poor. Note that the general economic crisis has begun to negatively affect even the Netflix price chart.
Earlier we reported that house prices in the UK fell by 1.4% in November.
Average house prices in the UK fell 1.4% in November
Average house prices in the UK fell 1.4% in the previous month in November to 263,788 thousand pounds (about $319,000), according to the British mortgage company Nationwide Building Society.
The decline was recorded at the end of the second consecutive month and was the most significant in almost 2.5 years – since June 2020. Analysts on average had forecast a decline of only 0.3%, according to Trading Economics.
Are house prices in the UK going to fall even more?
Residential real estate prices in November compared to the same month last year increased by 4.4%. At the same time, experts expected a larger increase of 5.8%. The growth rate slowed down significantly compared with 7.2% in October. Because of the difficult economic situation, British investors are investing in other instruments. The Microsoft price chart, for example, is showing potential for growth, so many are interested in the U.S. stock market.
“The market looks set to remain under pressure in the coming quarters. Inflation will remain high for some time, and interest rates are likely to continue to rise,” believes Nationwide Senior Economist Robert Gardner. – The outlook is unclear, and much will depend on how the overall economy behaves, but a relatively soft landing is still possible.”
Earlier we reported that Sanctions Circumvention was included in the EU’s list of criminal offenses.
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