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?
Firms in Northern Ireland will continue to have unfettered access to Great Britain, with no export or exit summary declarations, with limited exceptions, for products, whilst goods moving from GB to NI will remain tariff free, with a trusted trader scheme to be established.
Whilst the Protocol is effective from 1 January 2021, there will be grace periods for the registration and compliance of certain goods.
3 month grace period
Authorised traders such as supermarkets and their trusted suppliers will be given a 3-month grace period from official certification for products of animal origin, composite products, food and feed of non-animal origin and plants and plant products.
6 month grace period
A 6-month grace period has been agreed to facilitate authorised movements of restricted products such as chilled meats from GB-NI.
12 month grace period
There will be a 12 month phasing in period of regulatory requirements for medicines to avoid disruption to the flow of medicines from GB-NI.
For traders moving agri-food goods which require certain ”SPS” controls such as Export Health Certificates (EHCs), the UK government has stated that it will take care of reasonable costs, under the Movement Assistance Scheme.