Goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain will not be subject to export declarations and there will be no tariffs on freight remaining within the UK customs territory, cabinet minister Michael Gove has confirmed.
He said safeguarding the free flow of goods within the United Kingdom’s internal market is of critical importance to Northern Ireland’s economy and people as the UK withdraws from the European Union.
In a statement to the House of Commons announcing how its protocol will work, Gove also said: “In order to ensure that internal UK trade qualifies for tariff-free status, there will need to be declarations on goods as they move from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.
“But these systems will be electronic and administered by UK authorities. It will be for our authorities to determine any processes that are required – using the latest technology, risk and compliance techniques to keep these to an absolute minimum.”
The approach to trade between the two countries was met with optimism by the FTA, which said it was “an encouraging step towards guaranteeing NI’s businesses unfettered access to the rest of UK trade while ensuring continued frictionless trade with the EU.”
Seamus Leheny, FTA Northern Ireland policy manager said: “Logistics operators in NI have been concerned for some time about the new trading environment in which they will be expected to operate and the constraints this may place on the just-in-time supply chain.
“This declaration is a positive first step in ensuring the GB-NI supply chain, but more information is urgently needed to reassure operators that trade can continue to flow freely without unnecessary charges or delays.