Brexit and the Irish border: A simple explanation" width="976" height="549">
The Irish border problem has been a major sticking point for Brexit. Tory leadership contenders Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have been setting out their solutions during a visit to Belfast.
What's the problem
Following incidents like foot-and-mouth disease and the horse meat scandal, the EU is very strict about these requirements.In theory, such checks would mean things like cameras and security posts, creating a so-called "hard border".Concerns have been raised that the return of a hard border could jeopardise the Good Friday Agreement. This helped bring the period of violence in Northern Ireland known as "The Troubles" to an end.
Boris Johnson says there are "abundant" technological solutions
So why hasn't it been sorted yet?
UK and EU Brexit negotiators came up with a solution - known as the Irish backstop - to avoid border checks. If used, the backstop would keep the UK in a very close relationship with the EU until a trade deal permanently avoiding the need for checks is agreed.However, the backstop proved unacceptable to many Conservative MPs, who worried the UK would be trapped in it.Their opposition eventually led to Theresa May's resignation as prime minister.Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt have pledged to go back to the EU to negotiate changes to the backstop. They believe they could do this before the current Brexit deadline of 31 October.">
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The EU's legal requirement is that some products have to be physically checked - chemicals and food are among them. Another proposal has been for checks on animals and other goods to be allowed to take place in "mobile units away from the border". But that would require the EU to change its own rules.
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What else could be done?
Alongside technology, Mr Johnson has also talked about a trusted trader scheme. Businesses would be allowed to by-pass checks once they've proven to be trustworthy and have met certain standards.For it to work, the UK would need to persuade the EU to recognise it.
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But setting up such a scheme would a take a lot of time and cost a lot money. The UK would also need to come up with an effective way of enforcing it and prevent smuggling. Achieving all of this by 31 October would be extremely difficult.
Northern Ireland exported almost ?3bn of goods to Republic of Ireland in 2017
Trade in ? millionsOnly top 5 export categories shownSource: House of Commons Library
What happens if there's a no-deal Brexit?
Should the UK leave the EU with no deal on 31 October, then, in theory, checks will be required immediately.But no one has started building border posts and the UK and Irish governments don't want a hard border.
Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, also believes technology and other solutions can prevent a hard border after Brexit
One suggestion, under this scenario, is that Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland could keep the same rules and standards. But that would mean Northern Ireland's rules would be different to the rest of the UK.The DUP, which the UK government relies upon for a majority in Parliament, has said it will not accept this.Alternatively, checks could take place between Ireland and mainland Europe instead - but such a move would undermine Ireland's place in the EU.In truth, no one knows what will happen.
No-deal Brexit: What you need to know
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