No new checks on goods moving across Border to Northern Ireland in no-deal Brexit
All Irish beef and dairy products will be able to enter Northern Ireland tariff-free
Britain will not introduce any new checks or controls on goods moving from Ireland to Northern Ireland in the event of a no-deal Brexit. File Photograph: David Young/PA
Announcing a series of “strictly temporary, unilateral” measures on Wednesday morning, the British government said its priority would be to enter into discussions with the European Commission and the Irish Government to jointly agree long-term measures to avoid a hard Border.
Britain also announced a temporary tariff regime for a no-deal scenario but said it would not apply tariffs on goods crossing the Border into Northern Ireland. It will be for the Irish Government and for the EU to determine what measures might be applied on goods crossing the Border from Northern Ireland into Ireland.
However, goods entering the rest of the UK from the Republic of Ireland would face tariffs which will be high in some sectors and be a particular threat to the Irish beef and dairy sectors, who sell a large proportion to the British market.
The decision not to apply tariffs to goods crossing the Border means that although Britain will impose tariffs on beef and dairy products, all Irish beef and dairy products will be able to enter Northern Ireland tariff-free.
“The government has been clear that a deal with the European Union is the best outcome for Northern Ireland. But we will do all we can to support people and businesses across Northern Ireland in the event that we leave without a deal. The measures announced today recognise the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland. These arrangements can only be temporary and short-term,” Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley said.
Goods arriving from Ireland into Northern Ireland would still be subject to the same VAT and excise duty as today and the British government would continue to collect these taxes on Irish goods. Small businesses trading across the Border and not currently VAT-registered would be able to report VAT online periodically without any new processes at the Border.
Animals and animal products from countries outside the EU would have 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. New import requirements would also apply to imports of endangered species and hazardous chemicals.
The measures were announced ahead of a vote at Westminster on Wednesday night on a motion ruling out a no-deal Brexit.
The new tariff schedule would apply from 11pm on March 29th in the event of a crash out of the EU and would be in place for up to 12 months.
The headline rates published by the government represent a percentage of the existing rate imposed by the EU on imports from countries which do not have a free trade agreement.
They include 53 per cent of the existing EU rate on beef, which equates, for example, to 6.8 per cent on boneless beef plus €160.10 per 100kg and 6.8 per cent on unboned beef and €93 per 100kg.
Other rates include 60 per cent of the existing EU rate on poultry, butter 32 per cent, cheddar cheese 13 per cent. - Additional reporting Guardian