Brexit

Invisible border can be maintained, Swiss official tells MPs

A sign for an abandoned Customs Facilitation Office at the border. Picture by Brian Lawless, Press Association

AN invisible Irish border could be maintained after Brexit, the head of the Swiss customs service has told a Westminster committee.

Dr Christian Bock told Northern Ireland Affairs Committee yesterday that a system could be set up to reduce the amount of goods that need to be subject to physical checks.

Common border patrols involving UK and Irish staff and customs "control points" positioned away from the border could be established, he said.

A pre-qualification system for trusted traders could also be set up.

And companies involved in bulk goods which frequently cross the border, including milk, could make returns every month.

"You don't need a system where you stop every time at the border," said Dr Bock.

"If you look at their accounts, what they have declared, what are the invoices."

On Tuesday, Brexit Secretary David Davis said it should be "relatively easy" to maintain a soft border as long as there is a zero-tariff trade deal with the EU.

Meanwhile, a leading economic forecasting body has said households in the UK are more than £600 a year worse off following the Brexit vote.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) said it is “almost certain” the leave vote has damaged living standards and hit the growth potential of the economy.

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