No tariffs for Irish goods entering NI in no-deal Brexit

Marco Green
March 14, 2019

The government said it would not introduce checks or controls on goods moving from the Irish Republic to the British province of Northern Ireland.

The Irish government's no-deal contingency document, published last month, refrained from stating what might happen at the border in a no-deal scenario.

Tonight (13 March 2019), Parliament will vote on whether to ask the European Union for a delay to its exit, which may affect the prospects of a "no deal" Brexit.

Under a temporary and unilateral regime announced by the British government, European Union goods arriving from the Republic and remaining in Northern Ireland will not be subject to tariffs.

The UK Government would only apply a small number of measures strictly necessary to comply with worldwide legal obligations, protect the biosecurity of the island of Ireland, or to avoid the highest risks to Northern Ireland businesses - but these measures will not require checks at the land border.

But they said these were the only steps that could be taken to deliver on the government's commitment to avoiding a hard border in the case of no deal.

This latest announcement stated that around 87% (by value) of imported goods would see a zero tariff in a "no deal" Brexit (around 80% of imported goods (by value) are now tariff-free, according to the BBC).

Under the new regime for Northern Ireland, goods arriving from the Republic will still be subject to the same Value-Added Tax and excise duty as at present. VAT registered businesses would continue to account for VAT on their normal VAT returns.

But Britain's new quotas have been calculated as a proportion of the current EU-wide quotas for Australian meat exports - an arrangement that the Morrison Government has been strongly contesting at the World Trade Organsation in Geneva, on the grounds that the quota split doesn't accurately reflect long-term patterns of trade. Based on the announcement, the BA has initially said that the zero tariff appears to apply to all conventional bicycles, parts and accessories, aside from e-bikes and speed pedelecs.

The statement said: "To protect human, animal and plant health, animals and animal products from countries outside the EU would need to enter Northern Ireland through a designated entry point, regulated plant material from outside the EU and high risk EU plant material will require certification and pre-notification before arriving in the UK".

It is understood that the anti avoidance measures would not mean checks at the Northern Ireland or Scotland ports but would be done via other methods.

These unilateral measures only mitigate the impacts of exit that are within the UK Government's control.

"We also recognise that there are challenges and risks for maintaining control of our borders, monitoring the flow of goods into the United Kingdom, and the challenge posed by organised criminals seeking to exploit any new system".

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley said the government was clear that a deal with the European Union was "the best outcome for Northern Ireland".

Goods crossing the border from Ireland into Northern Ireland would not be covered by the new import tariff regime.

"If we leave without a deal, we will set the majority of our import tariffs to zero, whilst maintaining tariffs for the most sensitive industries".

"It is a temporary measure, this is for a short term while we engage with business and we see what the real term consequences are", he told BBC radio.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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