On Friday 7 August, UK government published a series of guidance documents, Moving goods under the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The guidance outlines that, under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the UK Government will ensure:
- Moving goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain should take place as it does now – there will be no additional process, paperwork, or restrictions on Northern Ireland goods moving to Great Britain, delivering unfettered access. This special treatment will be available only to Northern Ireland businesses (including businesses headquartered in Great Britain with operations in Northern Ireland). There will be a very limited range of exceptions to this unfettered access policy.
- Changes for goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will be kept to an absolute minimum - with a new Trader Support Service, available to all traders at no cost, to be established to provide wraparound support. Once registered with the Trader Support Service, businesses will simply need to provide digitally the appropriate information on the goods being moved, and the new service will deal with all associated requirements for free. This unique end-to-end support service will deal with the costs and burdens from the process of moving goods into Northern Ireland.
- Trade in goods between Northern Ireland and Ireland, and between Northern Ireland and EU Member States, will continue unaffected, with no change at the border, no new paperwork, and no tariffs or regulatory checks. Northern Ireland businesses will therefore enjoy unfettered access to the whole of the UK market as well as the guaranteed ability to trade freely within the EU Single Market.
- For trade with the rest of the world, Northern Ireland will benefit from UK FTAs – ensuring the benefits of those agreements are felt right across the United Kingdom.To support traders and avoid burdening business with engaging with any potential complexities in this system, businesses importing into Northern Ireland from the rest of the world will also be eligible for the Trader Support Service. This will enable traders to draw on that service at no additional cost when moving goods from the rest of the world into Northern Ireland.
UKCA marking guidance remains forthcoming. Recognising the increasing concern about its absence, last week techUK co-signed a letter to the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, who has overall responsibility for EU exit arrangements stressing that time is running out to comply with the government’s objectives on conformance labelling.