Northern Ireland Protocol – Command Paper

Trade and market access

Brexit pulse alert: respond to the business impacts of Brexit

11 December, 2020

Brexit development

On 10 December, the UK government published an updated Command Paper outlining details of the agreement in principle reached by the Co-Chairs of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee regarding the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Top Brexit impacts

From 1 January 2021, goods moved by Northern Ireland businesses to Great Britain will not be liable to tariffs, whether they are moved directly from Northern Ireland or via Ireland. A long-term regime will be introduced in the second half of 2021 to register Northern Ireland businesses that qualify to move goods free of checks, controls or tariffs to Great Britain (except for certain specific goods in highly-regulated sectors). 

If there is no trade agreement reached between the UK and EU, goods moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021 will only be subject to EU tariffs if they are destined for the EU, or if there is uncertainty or risk of onwards movement into the EU. Under a new UK Trader Scheme, authorised businesses will be able to certify whether the goods they are moving into Northern Ireland are at risk of onward movement to the EU’s Single Market. If a trade agreement is concluded between the UK and EU then this scheme will reduce origin certification requirements.

While goods subject to commercial processing will automatically be considered at risk of entering the EU market, a series of sectors will be exempt from this automatic assumption, including food for sale to end consumers in the UK and the construction sector. 

Export or exit declarations will not be required for internal UK movements of goods (except for goods underpinned by specific international obligations, such as trade involving endangered species).

As noted in our previous Pulse Alert, from 1 January 2021 supermarkets in Northern Ireland will benefit from a three-month grace period from certification requirements for products of animal origin, composite products, food and feed of non-animal origin and plant products. A phased process for implementing medicines regulation in Northern Ireland will also apply until 31 December 2021. 

Specific arrangements will be introduced for the agri-food industry. The UK government’s new Movement Assistance Scheme will cover reasonable costs for traders moving agri-food goods for which controls such as Export Health Certificates apply.

Actions for business

  • Northern Ireland businesses moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland should monitor further details provided on the UK Trader Scheme under which qualifying businesses can certify whether their goods are at risk of entering the EU Single Market, and to determine any tariffs applicable.
  • Northern Ireland businesses that undertake commercial processing should assess whether Inward Processing relief could be applicable.
  • Traders moving agri-food goods should sign up to the Movement Assistance Scheme, which will be launched in mid-December.

To discuss specific support with your Brexit preparations based on this latest development contact: Deloitte Brexit Insights

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