CHIEF Brexit negotiator David Frost blasted the EU over threats to block food deliveries to Northern Ireland.
He pleaded with opposite number Michel Barnier to “think better of this”.
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Mr Barnier tweeted to deny he had threatened the UK in comments made last week.
He said: “The EU is not refusing to list the UK as a third country for food imports.”
“Third countries” are nations not in the EU or European Free Trade Association, but that do have recognition of food standards by the EU.
Mr Frost pointed out that the UK, having been in the EU for 40 years, adheres to all relevant food standards, so there was no reason not to be listed as a third country.
He added: “The EU lists dozens of countries globally on precisely this basis, without any sort of commitment about the future.
“Yet it has been made clear in the current talks that there is no guarantee of listing us.
“I am afraid it has also been said to us explicitly that if we are not listed we will not be able to move food to Northern Ireland.
“The EU’s position is that listing is needed for Great Britain only, not Northern Ireland. So if GB were not listed, it would be automatically illegal for NI to import food products from GB.
“I hope the EU will yet think better of this. It obviously makes it no easier to negotiate a good free trade agreement and the solid future relationship which we all want.”
The European Research Group sent a note to members and MPs urging them to back the Internal Markets Bill.
The document says it “does not in itself break international law or the Withdrawal Agreement”.
He added he did “not believe we will get to that stage”.
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