Brexit Update - UK Government Guidance on moving goods under the Northern Ireland Protocol
The UK Government has today released it's guidance document on moving goods under the Northern Ireland Protocol. This is a welcome development for companies trading to and from Northern Ireland, however it must be remembered that this guidance is subject to change based on the outcome of the negotiations between the UK and EU at the Joint Committee. The guidance also outlines that some areas are still subject to consultation and consideration.
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The guidance covers four scenarios relating to the trade in goods post the Transition Period. Below we provide a summary of the arrangements under these four scenarios, along with a link to the full UK Government Guidance (which is broken up in to 5 documents).
Moving goods from NI to GB
The guidance on moving goods from NI to GB outlines the following:
Will continue to operate as it does today. This means there will be no additional processes, no customs checks, no customs declarations, and no new regulatory checks on NI goods moving to GB.
Certain goods, such as endangered species, will be subject to controls
The guidance does call out that this only applies to businesses operating in NI, goods moving to GB from businesses in the Republic of Ireland will be subject to customs controls and customs tariffs. Further guidance on the definition of qualifying status for goods and businesses in Northern Ireland will be published at a later date following ongoing consultations.
In addition, the guidance outlines that it is the UK Governments wish that export declarations and exit summary declarations should not be required for trade from NI to GB. However it outlines that agreement will need to be found on this approach at the UK-EU Joint Committee.
Moving goods from GB to NI
The guidance on moving goods from GB to NI outlines the following:
There will be some changes, such as controls on food and agricultural products moving to NI from GB. Sanitary and phytosanitary goods will be subject to control.
No export declaration or exit summary declaration will need to be submitted in the UK for goods moving to NI
UK authorities will apply EU customs controls and rules on imports to NI from GB
New administrative processes for traders will be required, including new electronic import declaration requirements
Only goods at risk of entering the EU Market should have customs tariffs applied
A new Trader Support Service will be provided to NI traders to allow them manage these new requirements
Some EU VAT and excise rules will be applicable in NI, even though NI will remain part of the UK's VAT and excise system
The guidance also states that the UK Government position is that tariffs should not be payable on internal UK trade and that it will work to implement waivers or reimbursements to reduce the impact on business. This point is still part of negotiations at the UK-EU Joint Committee.
Moving goods between NI and EU Member States (including the Republic of Ireland)
The guidance on moving goods between NI and EU Member States (including the Republic of Ireland) outlines the following:
Will continue to operate as it does today, with no change at the border, no tariffs applied, no new regulatory checks and no customs declarations
Intrastat reporting will continue for the trade in goods between NI and EU Member States
Moving goods to/from NI from/to outside the EU and UK
The guidance on moving goods between NI and countries outside the EU and UK outlines the following:
The UK tariff regime will be applied for imports, unless the goods are at risk of moving into the EU and there is a difference with the EU tariff regime. Further guidance will be given in this area following agreement at the UK/EU Joint Committee;
NI originating products will be able to avail of the benefits of any future UK FTAs
While the guidance published today provides some more information to businesses trading to and from Northern Ireland, there are still many uncertainties which is concerning given there are less than 5 months to the end of the transition period. Further decisions on many topics at the EU-UK Joint Committee need to be made to ensure there is alignment between the EU and UK on the NI Protocol and certainty can be given to businesses. Don't hesitate to contact us should you wish to discuss the application of the above to your business.
The full guidance published today can be found on the following link: