Do you do business in Northern Ireland or Eire?

We want to alert businesses who trade with or through Northern Ireland to a simple but important job. HMRC is asking all businesses who move goods between GB and NI to fill in a short questionnaire. This will allow them to keep you updated as and when important information is released.

HMRC questionnaire here

UK’s approach to the NI Protocol

In the meantime, the government has released a policy paper setting out how Brexit will fit into the objectives of the Good Friday Agreement, with information vital to importers and exporters. So you don’t have to plough through the entire document, we’ve summarised the key points.

No hard border in Ireland or the Irish Sea

  • Creation of a customs territory which means:
  • Removal of internal tariffs & trade barriers
  • Common approach to external trade partners
  • Trade deals: NI will benefit from preferential access that the UK negotiates

Supplies from UK to NI: no changes

  • No import/export customs or safety and security declarations
  • No customs check
  • No tariffs – only goods which ultimately enter Ireland/EU, or are at a clear and substantial risk of doing so, will face tariffs

Supplies from UK to NI: changes

  • UK must apply EU rules to goods which enter NI
  • When goods leave the UK to NI, no export or exit declaration or customs clearance is needed
  • When goods enter NI, they will need customs declarations and safety and security information
  • The customs duties in respect of a good being moved by direct transport to Northern Ireland other than from the Union or from another part of the United Kingdom shall be subject to the duties applicable in the United Kingdom unless that good is at risk of subsequently being moved into the Union, whether by itself or forming part of another good following processing.

Agri-food
To ensure that Irelands status as a Single Epidemiological Unit (SEU) is maintained, some kinds of products will have additional border inspection checks.

  • NI will align to the EU Sanitary & Phytosanitary rules
  • Agri-food products entering NI from GB will be done via a BCP Border Control Point or Designated Point of Entry*
  • They will be subject to physical examination & identity & documentary checks, frequency and process of these TBC
  • *Belfast Port/Belfast Airport/Larne Port – TBC

Regulation of goods

  • NI to align with the EU rules relating to the placing on the market of manufactured goods
  • Enforcing and authorising authorities will be the same as they are now
  • Checks can continue away from the ports as they do now, dependant on risk
  • The UK will recognise NI/EU approvals and certifications for the purpose of placing goods on the GB market

VAT and Excise

  • NI remains aligned to some EU rules on VAT/Excise
  • HMRC not the EU will be the tax collector
  • Although bound by the EU VAT rules, NI can match exemptions, reductions and zero rating applied by the UK government
  • For excise goods, a movement from GB to NI will be regarded as an ‘import’ into NI and a movement from NI to GB will be regarded as an ‘export’ from NI
  • Whereas, excise goods moving from NI to an EU Member State and vice versa will be regarded as an intra EU movement

HMRC questionnaire here

Full policy document here

We can expect further developments during the transition phase, we will endeavour to keep you updated. As always, please call or email me with comments or questions, we’re always happy to discuss individual issues.