HMCR has sent an update to traders regarding recent statement made by Foreign Secretary Liz Truss at the House of Commons (on 17 May) on the government’s intention to introduce legislation to make changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol. Find out what the changes could mean for your business.
During her statement, the Foreign Secretary reiterated the UK Government’s responsibility to fix issues facing communities in Northern Ireland, including elements of the protocol that have created barriers between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, while maintaining those elements that preserve North-South trade and co-operation on the island of Ireland.
This legislation is being introduced alongside the government seeking to continue negotiations on the protocol.
The European Commission is said to be watching the passage of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill through Parliament with growing concern as it believes that the proposed legislation will allow the UK to unilaterally alter the requirements of the Protocol with regard to trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
A recent House of Lords 85-page report looks at the Protocol in some detail and notes particular concerns about the “feast or famine” impact of the Protocol, whereby businesses able to take advantage of the access to the EU internal market benefit, while those dependent on trade with Great Britain lose out.
Available at https://publications.parliament.uk, the report by the European Affairs Committee is based on evidence from businesses and politicians in Northern Ireland, the UK and Ireland.
A number of witnesses stressed the importance of the Trader Support Service (TSS) and Movement Assistance Scheme in facilitating trade arguing that they had both been “critical in providing certainty and simplicity, where possible, and affordability”.
Calling for more co-operation between those involved in the future of the Protocol, the report states that “the UK and the EU, as well as the political parties in Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland stakeholders and the Irish Government, urgently need to reset the unproductive and self-destructive cycle of claim and counter-claim on the Protocol”.
It expresses deep regret that, in the last 12 months, so little progress has been made and acknowledges widespread support for the continuation of the various grace periods and derogations, amidst warnings of the serious economic impact should they come to an end without being replaced.
What does this mean to you as a trader?
At the moment, there will not be any changes in the way you move goods between GB and NI.
The government will be working closely with businesses to develop new arrangements and inform timely about what changes will be affecting them.