The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) and the Northern Ireland Protocol came into effect on 1 January 2021. The Protocol provides that Northern Ireland will:
- Remain aligned to a number of EU rules, namely:
- The Union’s Customs Code (UCC)
- EU rules on VAT in respect of goods
- EU rules on product standards and sanitary and phyto-sanitary rules (SPS); and
- EU state aid rules
- Remain part of the UK’s customs territory and will apply EU duties on the movement of any goods that are deemed to be “at risk” of onward movement into the EU.
Key challenges for business
How does the UK-EU TCA and Protocol impact the rules for moving goods between GB to NI?
Qualifying goods travelling from Northern Ireland to Great Britain will have unfettered access, without export or exit summary declarations (limited exceptions apply).
On 15 December, the UK government announced that from 1 January 2022, goods moving from the island of Ireland to Great Britain, including those moving from Northern Ireland via ports in the Republic of Ireland, will have no new customs requirements or SPS processes.
Whilst the Protocol has been effective since 1 January 2021, in September 2021, the UK government announced a “standstill” to facilitate ongoing discussions with the EU on the operation of the Protocol. As part of this announcement it was confirmed that grace periods and easements in respect of medicines, “SPS” controls, and parcels will continue to be applied by the UK government while the discussions proceed.