When the UK leaves the European Union in March 2019, we will embark upon a new era in the history of this great nation. We want to ensure the UK maximises the opportunities and minimises the disruption caused by Brexit. Both the UK and the EU have now released papers on the subject of the Irish border. We believe that finding a solution to the issues created by the UK leaving the EU at the Irish border are very much in the mutual interest of both parties, but, contrary to the assertions in the EU paper, cannot be properly resolved until the end-state negotiations between the EU and UK are considerably further advanced. One simply cannot solve the problems of the Irish border without understanding the trade relationship between the UK and the EU. Our data shows that both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland’s trade is overwhelmingly with mainland GB, and therefore it is critical for people and businesses in Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland that the trade arrangements between the UK and EU are resolved quickly. While we do not seek to play down the disruptions at the border for which real solutions must be found, this trade data is evidence that the most important disruption for businesses and people in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is to their trade with mainland GB and that is why the EU and UK resolution of those border issues is vital for their interests. The Legatum Institute Special Trade Commission’s latest paper, Mutual Interest: How the UK and the EU can resolve the Irish border after Brexit sets out the steps to minimise potential disruptions at the Irish border, so that we can ensure a future for the UK and the Republic of Ireland that is open and inclusive, that creates growth and jobs, and encourages innovation and enterprise. The priorities for an open and inclusive border should be facilitating ease of movement for people and goods, delivering effective security for people and goods and delivering effective energy security. The relationship between the UK and the Republic of Ireland is a special one and it is therefore crucial that solutions are implemented to ensure a low-friction border. Creativity and ingenuity will be at a premium in devising these solutions, and we believe that the talents of the British, Irish and fellow European peoples are up to the task of finding the kinds of solutions that can not only solve this unique challenge but can serve as a prototype for ensuring smooth borders around the world. Our key recommendations are as follows: Facilitate the free movement of people of people between Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and the UK mainland (GB) by the indefinite continuation of the Common Travel Area (CTA). The process of delegated immigration controls should continue, with Republic of Ireland authorities to administer EU citizens arriving there, including those wishing to travel onward into the UK. The most effective way to reduce border disruption for trade in goods between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is by the UK and EU agreeing a smooth customs arrangement, and using the best practice legal and technology tools. This is an opportunity to deploy the latest technology available in a limited area, which could become a prototype for other regions — turning a challenge into an opportunity. The Governments of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, as well as the EU Commission, should focus on the appropriate mechanisms to minimise the disruption to relatively low-volume, high frequency trading across the border including trusted trader programmes that are easy to use, and appropriate mechanisms to minimise risk so frequent traders face fewer obstacles. The UK Government should not consider introducing a customs union or single market between NI and the ROI, which would require a border between GB and NI. The UK Government and the Government of the Republic of Ireland should utilise existing bodies such as those created by the Belfast Agreement to create a joint committee responsible for ensuring proper implementation of the border agreements. Deliver energy security in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland by preserving the existing Single Electricity Market (SEM) and integrating it with EU electricity markets through the Integrated Single Electricity Market. Explore ways of ensuring greater supply of energy into Northern Ireland through interconnectors with energy exporters. The UK Government should consider the use of free zones, or free ports, in Northern Ireland, and discuss their use in the Republic of Ireland and at the border with the EU and the Irish government. If the UK and EU are serious about solving the issues created by the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, they will move quickly to determine what their overall trade relationship will be. The border issues between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are a good place to start.