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Internal Market Bill Passed: Tensions Arise Between UK and EU

Salil Kale

16th September 2020

PM Johnson thinks the bill would be a positive step towards 'economic and political integrity'. (Source: The Express)

The controversial Internal Market Bill passed its second reading at the House of Commons on 14th September 2020, leading to speculations that the bill may be passed as a law in actuality very soon.

As reported by The Guardian, many MPs were against the bill as it would be breaching some important agreements made in the Withdrawal Agreement between the European Union (EU) and the United Kingdom (UK) government, which is the main point of contention.

The Internal Market Bill was introduced to ensure zero trade barriers for trade activity inside the UK. This bill would secure the country’s efficient transition from being an EU nation to a separate entity. The transition period is an 11-month ordeal which will last until the 31st December 2020.

During the post-transition period, there will be no room for negotiations between the two entities. The UK would be agreeing to a conclusive no-deal exit from the EU and would have to adhere to the standard World Trade Organisation rules. The no-deal plan will be applied from 1st January 2021.

The bill proposes a mutual recognition that goods and services that can be sold in one part of the UK can also be sold and used in other regions, with some exceptions to Northern Ireland, which follows the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Non-discrimination laws would be introduced which would make it unlawful for any of the devolved nations’ governments to make provisions favouring goods or services from any one part of the UK over another, reports The Herald.

The bill is generating a massive amount of controversy on multiple fronts. The ‘mutual recognition’ principle in the Internal Market Bill would be rendering the varying standards set by the four governments of the UK useless. Additionally, there is a lot of speculation on the questionable quality and standards of products entering the UK. One of the few being hormone fed chicken and beef from the United States.

The main point of controversy is, however, the fact that the bill overrides parts of the withdrawal agreement by allowing free trade between Northern Ireland and the UK, without any checks, according to The Herald.

The bill is set to go forward to the House of Lords for further detailed scrutiny. PM Boris Johnson remarked that the bill would be a positive step forward towards ‘economic and political integrity’.

(Sources- BBC, The Herald, Lexology.com)

Edited by Nayana Dhanya

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