The new Northern Ireland Brexit trade deal: What has been agreed

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen agreed to a Northern Ireland Brexit deal, subject to Parliamentary approval.
A truck driver shows documents to security before entering Larne Port, Northern Ireland, 27 February 2023.
A truck driver shows documents to security before entering Larne Port, Northern Ireland, 27 February 2023.

The UK and the EU announced a new deal for post-Brexit trading arrangements for Northern Ireland on Monday in a bid to end a row that has overshadowed their ties since Brexit.

The deal seeks to resolve the tensions caused by the Northern Ireland protocol, a complex agreement that set the trading rules for the region that London agreed before it left the EU but now says are unworkable.

Below are the key parts of the new framework outlined by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at a news conference.


When the UK left the EU, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed to a deal that effectively left Northern Ireland in the bloc's single market for goods because of its open border with EU member Ireland, creating a customs border with mainland Britain.

The UK government has wanted to reduce the number of checks on goods travelling from Britain to Northern Ireland.

The two sides have agreed to separate goods into "green" and "red" lanes based on whether the goods are just going to Northern Ireland or if they will continue into the EU.

This is designed to reduce the paperwork facing companies that have said they were unable to provide a full range of products to Northern Ireland because the number of checks were too onerous.

EU laws

Under the earlier deal agreed with the EU, Northern Ireland followed some of the bloc's laws so that goods flow freely over the border with Ireland without checks.

Sunak said the Northern Ireland Assembly will now be able to "pull an emergency brake" on any changes to EU rules and the UK government will "have a veto".


Businesses in Northern Ireland currently follow EU rules on value-added tax (VAT). This means tax breaks by British government payments to help firms in Northern Ireland must be compliant with rules set by the EU.

Under the new deal, the UK government will have freedom to set VAT in Northern Ireland.