While it might seem that we are in the same position as last year; the reality is that the UK is now a non-EU country. Brexit has not gone away and significant gaps remain between the two sides on fundamental issues, including in particular the Level Playing Field and Fisheries. This poses a threat to the conclusion of a Trade Agreement this year. In this article we look at how things stand currently, what the next steps will include and the key questions that Importers and Exporters are asking. EU-UK Future Relationship Negotiations The talks on a Free Trade Agreement are still stalled with both sides reporting that there is unlikely to be a Trade Agreement concluded this year. Talks will however continue in September and October so we will be monitoring progress. By way of recap the FTA talks will determine whether customs duty is payable on imports into Ireland from the UK, or on exports to the UK. Transition Period – will there be an extension? The simple answer to this is unfortunately no. The deadline for seeking an extension was 30th June and this has passed without a request for same. In fact the UK have stated clearly they do not want any extension. Northern Ireland Protocol The Withdrawal Agreement provides that NI will remain in the UK Customs Territory but will continue to apply the EU Customs regulations. This means that there will be no Customs Controls on goods moving between N.I. and ROI Current issues in relation to the NI Protocol revolve around;
- The preparations for the implementation of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.
- The UK’s plans for the introduction of customs procedures for goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, as well as for the necessary sanitary and phytosanitary controls, and other regulatory checks.
- Ensure you have the procedures put in place to Import and Export goods post Brexit,
- Have all documents and authorisations in place, and
- Have access to clearance either in-house or through a 3rd Party.