The planned introduction of additional post-Brexit checks on Irish exports to the UK on January 1st has been delayed, the British government has announced.
The checks, which would have involved significant additional requirements, particularly for food and drink exporters, are being delayed while talks on the Northern Ireland protocol continue between the EU and UK.
The UK left the EU trading bloc at the start of this year, but delayed the implementation of some checks, allowing importers of goods from the EU to delay making advance customs declarations and paying the relevant tariffs.
This was due to end on January 1st, but an extension has now been granted in relation to imports to the UK from Ireland. The imposition of additional requirements on food and drink exporters to the UK are also to be delayed.
The news will give more time for Irish exporters, who had been preparing for the new regime to come into force on January 1st.
Carol Lynch, partner in BDO’s Customs and International Trade Service division, said this was good new for Irish exporters who will not now need to lodge import declarations in advance of departure of the goods from Ireland, while food exporters will not face immediate new SPS checks.
The UK announcement did not give a new date, saying it was contingent on talks on the protocol.
One issue, she said, would be how the UK would separate out Irish goods from those from the rest of the EU, who would face the new rules from January 1st.
The checks due to come in on January 1st are designed to bring post-Brexit customs arrangements between the UK and EU into line with those with the rest of world.
However, Brexit minister Lord Frost said the existing arrangements would continue on a temporary basis for goods crossing the Irish Sea for as long as the discussions on the protocol are ongoing.
“The government believes that this pragmatic act of good will can help to maintain space for continued negotiations on the protocol,” he said on Wednesday in a written ministerial statement.
He added that this “ensures that traders in both Ireland and Northern Ireland are not faced with further uncertainty while the protocol arrangements themselves are still under discussion”.
The UK is seeking significant changes to the Norther Ireland protocol which covers trading rules for the North post Brexit. .