The Especial Case of Northern Ireland after Brexit

Posted on January 15, 2021

Good Friday agreement ended with the violence of the Troubles, a political conflict between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland that had ensued since the late 1960s. This agreement established a cooperation relationship between both regions and with Great Britain with a set of strands.

One of the key elements of Brexit was not to have a hard border when separating the UK from the EU. In response to that, the border was established in the sea that surrounds the island of Great Britain, leaving Northern Ireland with the following conditions:

  • Moving goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain will not require any additional process, paperwork or restrictions on delivering unfettered access.
     
  • Changes for goods moving from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will be kept to an absolute minimum. There is a new Trader Support Service established to provide support and guidance on the processes, especially for food and agricultural products designed to uphold the longstanding status of the island of Ireland as a single epidemiological unit.

The Northern Ireland Protocol came into place on January 1st 2021 and establishes: 

  • That the UK authorities apply EU customs rules to goods entering Northern Ireland. This entails some new administrative process for traders, notably new electronic import declaration requirements, and safety and security information, for goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK.
     
  • A new Trader Support Service (TSS), which will undertake the digital processes on behalf of traders. Once registered, 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.
     
  • Items moving from Great Britain (GB) to Northern Ireland (NI) will be subject for declarations and will pay duties, if the items have “at-risk” condition. This condition only applies for inbound/good movement declarations; there will not be any export declarations from GB.
     
  • Incoterms will take place GB-NI as well as Harmonized System Classification for the items.
     
  • The carrier will perform safety and security declarations. For items with special conditions, such as export-controlled shipments, there will be a requirement for additional data to be provided before the items are moved, so a full customs entry declaration can be submitted. 
    • Simplified frontier declaration before the goods are moved
    • After delivery, supplementary declaration to be submitted.
       
  • Need of a XI EORI for goods moving into NI.
     
  • 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.
     
  • 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.

Contributor: Nicolas Alderete


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