Britain's government has announced plans to extend the so-called grace periods over Northern Ireland's post-Brexit trading arrangements, Brexit minister David Frost has said.
"To provide space for potential further discussions (with the EU), and to give certainty and stability to businesses while any such discussions proceed, the government will continue to operate the Protocol on the current basis.
"This includes the grace periods and easements currently in force," Mr Frost said in a written ministerial statement.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar had said earlier that Ireland expects Britain to announce further extensions to post-Brexit grace periods on goods imports into both Northern Ireland and into the rest of the United Kingdom.
Mr Varadkar said: "The expectation is that the United Kingdom will announce a further extension of the grace periods, not just in relation to Northern Ireland but also imports from the EU and Ireland into the UK.
"It is important that we use the period of any extension that may occur really to get down to business and to try to put in place more permanent... arrangements to make sure that the protocol is made more workable."
Mr Varadkar, speaking following a meeting in London with Britain's cabinet office minister Michael Gove, warned that any more permanent solution secured between London and Brussels would have to be within the confines of the existing agreement.
He said Mr Gove had told him that Britain "doesn't want to walk away from the protocol, but does want to make it more workable."
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said Ireland expects Britain to announce further extensions to post-Brexit grace periods on goods imports into both Northern Ireland and into the rest of the United Kingdom | https://t.co/p7OpsmG1CK pic.twitter.com/x55bBNt9KX— RTÉ News (@rtenews) September 6, 2021
Last week, Mr Varadkar said he would not object to grace periods delaying checks on some goods entering Northern Ireland being extended beyond the end of this month as part of efforts to resolve the dispute over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Northern Ireland is effectively kept in the EU's single market for goods by the protocol, which prevents a hard border on the island of Ireland and has created trade barriers with Britain.
Unionists have pressured for the abolition of the protocol, but the EU repeatedly rejected the UK government's plea to negotiate it.
On Saturday, Mr Frost said the UK will not sweep away the Northern Ireland Protocol as he warned conflict over the deal risks creating "cold mistrust" with the European Union.