Date: 15.03.2023

New Customs framework agreed for Northern Ireland shipments

Business groups have welcomed the ‘Windsor framework’ deal announced on the 27th February, between the UK and EU over trading arrangements in Northern Ireland, which offer a considerable reduction in checks and documents to move goods across the Irish Sea and into the province.

To avoid a land border with the Republic of Ireland the British government introduced customs checks at NI ports, for goods heading to the Republic. The policy known as the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP).

Unionists in NI questioned this move, as it effectively created a border between NI and the rest of the UK and the checks were unpopular with businesses who argued they added unnecessary bureaucracy, additional costs and delays. 

The Windsor Framework points out that under the NIP Protocol, a single truck carrying agrifood products could be required to produce as many as 500 officially-signed certificates, costing up to £150 per certificate, and adding hours of additional work.

While agreement has been reached between the British government and the EU, the Windsor Framework has yet to be accepted by DUP politicians in NI and ratified by the British parliament.

Under the new deal goods going to NI will pass through a ‘green’ lane with far fewer physical checks and paperwork, while goods destined for the Irish Republic will pass through a ‘red’ lane and would still be subject to checks to ensure they comply with EU regulations.

To qualify to use the new ‘green lane’, shippers will need to register as a trusted trader under the new United Kingdom Internal Market Scheme (UKIMS).

Fresh meat produced to UK standards will be allowed to enter Northern Ireland as long as it is clearly labelled. The distribution of British medicines will be allowed across NI, while parcels sent by individuals to friends and family will not require customs paperwork and online shopping will also be exempt.

Shipments between GB and NI will require a reduced amount of data, using ordinary commercial information rather than customs processes. The exact format in which this reduced set of data will be submitted has not yet been announced.

Dependant on the agreement’s progress through parliament, the Windsor Framework’s processes may come into effect from September 2023, with grace periods until 2025 for certain rules and checks. 

We will share information on the new framework and processes as they become available and will work directly with clients, as necessary, to ensure that they are prepared and compliant with any new customs regulations and requirements.

If you have any questions or concerns EMAIL Andy Fitchett, Brokerage Manager, who will be happy to review your situation.