467The objective of Appendix 3 is to provide for the “do not reduce” obligation and the necessary provisions for the “dedicated mechanisms” provided for in Article 2, paragraph 1, of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland. This article stipulates that there must be no reduction in rights, guarantees and equal opportunities, as provided for in the “Rights, Protections and Equal Opportunity” chapter of the 1998 Belfast Agreement in Northern Ireland following the UK`s withdrawal from the EU, including protection from discrimination under the provisions of EU law in Appendix 1 of the Protocol. This must be implemented through “dedicated mechanisms.” On the issue of the Irish border, there is a protocol on Northern Ireland (the “backstop”) which is attached to the agreement and establishes a position of withdrawal which will only come into force in the absence of effective alternative provisions before the expiry of the transition period. In this case, the UK will eclipse the EU`s common external tariff and Northern Ireland will stick to aspects of the internal market until such an event is carried out. Neither party can unilaterally withdraw from this customs union. The aim of this backstop agreement is to avoid a “hard” border in Ireland, where customs controls are needed.  This means that, in order to meet EU requirements, certain controls are required for certain products arriving in Northern Ireland from Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) and creating a regulatory and customs border in the Irish Sea. The most important elements of the draft agreement are: The Northern Ireland Protocol should be welcomed in some respects. It gives Businesses in Northern Ireland the certainty that trade relations with the EU (including kings) and Britain will remain virtually unchanged until the end of the transition period. For NI companies that trade only on the island of Ireland, the withdrawal agreement will ensure security on the status quo (including free market access for EU goods) after the end of the transitional period and regardless of the conclusion of a free trade agreement between the UK and the EU. The agreement also protects the flow of medicines and vets to Northern Ireland. This means that we give the industry up to 12 months to adjust to the rules of the protocol, in order to avoid disrupting critical medical care. The withdrawal agreement provides for a transitional period until 31 December 2020, during which time the UK will remain in the internal market, to ensure the smooth flow of trade until a long-term relationship is concluded.
If no agreement is reached by then, the UK will leave the single market without a trade deal on 1 January 2021. The withdrawal agreement is closely linked to a non-binding political declaration on future relations between the EU and the UK. The Northern Ireland Protocol, known as the Irish Backstop, was an annex to the November 2018 draft agreement outlining provisions to avoid a hard border in Ireland after the UK`s withdrawal from the European Union. The protocol provided for a provision of the safety net to deal with the circumstances in which satisfactory alternative arrangements were to come into force at the end of the transition period. This project has been replaced by a new protocol that will be described as follows. Section 78A – NIHRC works with regard to EU withdrawal agreements But this agreement goes further in principle and provides additional flexibility that allows us to seize the opportunities that will be offered to us at the end of the transition period.