UK delays introduction of Brexit checks on imports from Ireland

The British government has announced that the planned introduction of additional post-Brexit checks on Irish exports to the UK on January 1 has been postponed.

The checks, which would have included significant additional requirements, especially for food and drink exporters, are being delayed while talks on the Northern Ireland Protocol continue between the EU and the UK.

The United Kingdom left the European Union trade bloc at the beginning of this year, but has delayed the implementation of some checks, allowing importers of goods from the European Union to delay the issuance of advance customs declarations and the payment of related duties.

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This was due to expire on January 1, but an extension has now been granted in relation to imports into the UK from Ireland. Additional requirements for food and beverage exporters to the UK will also be delayed. Advance notification of exports of food, beverages and products of animal origin was to be provided.

The news will give more time to Irish exporters, who have been preparing for the new regulation to come into effect on January 1.

This is good news for Irish exporters who will now no longer need to make declarations before goods leave Ireland, while food exporters will not face new and immediate SPS checks, said Carol Lynch, partner in BDO’s Customs and International Trade Services. Other additional requirements. The UK’s announcement did not mention a new date for the checks to be implemented, saying it was contingent on talks on protocol.

Among the issues to be clarified, according to Lynch, is how the UK will separate Irish goods from the rest of the EU, which will face the new rules from January 1.

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The checks scheduled for January 1 are designed to bring post-Brexit customs arrangements between the UK and the EU in line with those of the rest of the world.

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However, Brexit Minister Lord Frost said current arrangements regarding imports from the island of Ireland would continue on a temporary basis for goods transiting the Irish Sea as long as discussions on the protocol were ongoing.

“The government believes that this realistic act of good faith can help preserve space for continued negotiations on the protocol,” he said on Wednesday in a written ministerial statement.

This, he added, «ensures that traders in both Ireland and Northern Ireland do not face further uncertainty while the protocol arrangements themselves are still being discussed.»

The statement from the UK government indicates that negotiations between London and Brussels over any potential changes to the protocol will continue into next year, eliminating the possibility of setting another deadline related to Britain’s exit from the European Union in the lead-up to Christmas.

The UK wants to change the operation of the protocol amid unionists’ fears that it is creating a trade barrier between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Lord Frost said the move could help preserve space for negotiations on the protocol to continue.

He said there was specific treaty and legislative obligations for «unrestricted access» to goods from Northern Ireland moving to Britain, and that new arrangements should be delayed due to «stalemate» arrangements in place under the Protocol.

Lord Frost said that was also because «negotiations on the protocol itself are still ongoing and will not be definitively completed by 1 January».

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Initial implementation in post-Brexit arrangements on exports to Britain relates to customs, prior notification under SPS rules covering products of plant and animal origin, and safety and security declarations.

Lord Frost said the arrangements announced today were «temporary».

We will keep it under review as negotiations on the protocol continue. We will ensure that traders have enough time to adjust to any future changes.

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